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A Glimpse into Obsessive-Compulsive Thoughts & Habits for Teen Girls & Mothers of Teen Girls
on May 16, 2009
Melissa has a lot on her plate: dance team (will she make captain?), schoolwork (how'd she get a C in Chemistry?), and a cute new guy (will he ask her to the Sugar Plum Stomp?)
She decides that putting less on her plate -- literally -- will help her achieve her goals. After all, losing a few pounds will help her compete against the other girls on the dance team and help her fit into that perfect new prom dress.
Through Melissa's story, author Laura Smith gives readers a glimpse at the thoughts and habits of a teenage girl developing an eating disorder. Girls who struggle with obsessive-compulsive ideologies will find Melissa's struggles authentic; those who have not will gain understanding and empathy for their friends who do.
As one who spent six weeks in an inpatient Eating Disorder Unit as a teenager, I found myself thinking, "Really?" a couple times while reading Skinny. Melissa's parents seem too good to be true: understanding, supportive, and flexible. This doesn't mesh with my experience; at group counseling sessions in the EDU, parents often demanded, "Why are you doing this to us?" Also, the ease - even relish - with which Melissa gains the doctor-ordered three pounds in one week did not ring true for me. The early stages of re-gaining weight were excruciatingly hard, at least for me and and my fellow EDU inmates. Of course, these are highly subjective reactions; each girl's struggle and story is unique.
Skinny is a great book for pre-teen and teen girls, especially for a "book club" type discussion. I also recommend that mothers of pre-teens and teen girls read Skinny, both to become familiar with the tell-tale signs of an eating disorder and to spend some time in the complex and emotion-ridden world in which our girls live.