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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Perfect - Natasha Friend

This is a fabulous story about a young woman with an eating disorder. After Isabelle's father died last year, it seems like things have kind of fallen apart at home. Her mom cries herself to sleep every night and has taken down every photograph of Izzy's father, and her little sister April is just a brat, and Isabelle's way of handling things is to eat, and eat, and eat, and eat, and then throw it all up. NOT a healthy way of dealing with things. And while Isabelle's mother can't quite manage to get her own life under control, she's not about to let Isabelle continue with this once she finds out, so she makes Isabelle go to an "Eating Disorder and Body Image Therapy Group." Needless, to say, Isabelle is not thrilled.

I really liked how Natasha Friend dealt with Isabelle's eating disorder and several other adolescent issues along the way. She makes Isabelle's character very realistic. She doesn't just start going to group and magically she's cured as sometimes happens in books and movies but never in real life. In real life, as in this book, there are steps forward and falls back, and Isabelle has to figure out how to handle all the things that come her way, including Ashley Barnum, the prettiest, most popular girl in school who also happens to have an eating disorder, much to Isabelle's surprise. With the help of a good counselor and a wonderful aunt, Isabelle and her family begin to move back into a more healthy way of living, taking small steps, one day at a time.

This is a sensitively written book with great perspective. Another novel that helps readers become more empathetic, and if you've read some of my other posts, you know those books are always winners with me. I definitely recommend Perfect.

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