October 16, 2008

Ibi Kaslik: Skinny

I recently finished reading Ibi Kaslik's Skinny, a book not just about the relationship between two sisters but also about how one's struggle with eating disorders affects each of them differently.

The two main characters of Skinny are college-age Giselle and fourteen-year-old Holly. One sister is a medical student, naturally bright who buries herself in studying, the practices of anorexia and bulimia, and trying to learn more about her family's past. The other sister is strong and lives for sports while struggling through junior high, having her own problems connected to being partially deaf and having a slight learning disability. Both sisters mourn for their father who was lost some years ago. They hold onto each other and their mother, trying to get by and keeping their small family knit together through their own traumas.

Giselle wants to be skinny like her baby sister who has everything she wants, which when it comes down to everything, is the love of their dead father. In his absence as she tries to make sense of the past, something leads her on a chase with many questions. Holly wants her looked-up-to big sister's life to be turned around and saved, never knowing the reasons why her sister struggles with her eating disorders. In her sister's absence she runs for something she can never reach: a healthy world for her sister.

Tomorrow marks one year since I finished reading Marya Hornbacher's Wasted (blog entry here) and I wonder if I made a very big mistake by wondering out loud to someone if they should skip reading that book or not, causing them to not read what I worried would give them tips rather than help them in a positive manner. After reading Skinny I had hopes it might by chance find the hands of the person I know who struggles with this so they will see they are not alone, that it is something serious, that people they don't even realize do love them much, and that they will stop themselves from the very horrible end that was this book. I am very sad to say that while the person has read it, they thought the whole thing was a joke, that it was funny.

I am not laughing. I have cried for them so many times. I hide it because what else is there to do. I will never forget the time I broke and couldn't lie. "Why are you crying?" "Because you didn't eat anything yesterday or today, and you don't want to tomorrow or the day after that, either." Because you want to starve. To die. There is so much more to life than being thin. It's one of the ugliest words I know. It is a word I have only hate for because of how it affects them. Skinny is a word likewise just as bad. "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." I see this quote on my own grandmother's mirror. Maybe it's famous, maybe it's not. But I don't believe in it. How many people out there can't taste? My own step sister cannot because of a car accident after being hit by a drunk driver. She's eighteen and has been naturally thin all her life but would give the world to be able to taste again.

Ending note: 'skinny' sucks. Skinny was a good book but also very sad. Maybe there is another person out there who it will help, just not the person I'm thinking of. I suggest kleenex.

51 / 52 books. 98% done!


Anonymous said...

I do not think that I have ever read a book like Skinny. I have done this book as my book report. I love books that are different and heart-breakingly sad. This is one book where you can feel almost every emotion in the text.