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The Luckiest Girl in the World : A Young Skater Battles Her Self-Destructive Impulses

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The Luckiest Girl in the World : A Young Skater Battles Her Self-Destructive Impulses [Paperback]

Steven Levenkron
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1, 1998
Just looking at Katie Roskova, you?d think she had it all: she was pretty, popular, an A-student at an exclusive private school, and on her way to becoming a champion figure skater. But there was another Katie?the one she hid from the world?who was having trouble dealing with the mounting pressures of her young life. And it was this Katie who, with no other means of expression available to her, reacted to her overbearing mother, her absent father, her unforgiving schedule, and her oblivious classmates by turning her self-doubt into self-hatred. And into self-mutilation.In his previous novel, The Best Little Girl in the World, Steven Levenkron brought insight, expertise, and sensitivity to the painful subject of anorexia nervosa. Now he applies these same talents to demystifying a condition that is just as heartbreaking, and becoming more common everyday. Through his depiction of Katie?s self-mutilating behavior?she is called "a cutter" by her peers?and her triumphant road to recovery, he offers a compelling profile of a young girl in trouble, and much-needed hope to the growing numbers who suffer from this shocking syndrome.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Fifteen-year-old figure skater and private-school scholarship student Katie Roskova has no time for friends. Her self-sacrificing mother makes sure of that. In public, Katie wears a megawatt smile meant to fool everyone, but she hides a dark secret. Sometimes she "spaces out" and cuts herself, which seems to lower her stress. One day after repeatedly banging her head into the wall following a difficult skating session, Katie is whisked away to the hospital and ordered into therapy. Much as Katie resists the help of therapist Sandy Sherman, he becomes a source of hope. Psychotherapist Levenkron, who dealt with anorexia in The Best Little Girl in the World (1978), offers no neat, tidy ending, but Katie makes progress. Despite its resemblance to a YA "problem novel," this work offers psychological insights that run deep. Levenkron has taken a timely issue threatening many adolescents today and successfully created a sympathetic and suspenseful story.?Keddy Ann Outlaw, Harris Cty. P.L., Houston
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Like his first novel Best Little Girl in the World (1989), about a teenager with anorexia, this one, written mostly with YAs in mind, also brings to light a devastating problem among young people. Pretty, smart, and a talented ice-skater, 15-year-old Katie Roskova seems to have a lot going for her. In fact, her public face and her private one are vastly different. She's actually a frightened, insecure, lonely child, who depends on self-mutilation (she cuts herself with a scissors or a knife until she bleeds) to stay grounded in the pressure cooker she knows as her "real world." There's not much subtlety in either characterization (the humane psychiatrist, the horrible mother, the supportive therapy group) or plot. But Levenkron evokes the magical thinking, the loss of control, and the other psychological particulars associated with self-mutilation so adeptly that readers can't help but be drawn into Katie's bizarre, frightening world. The girl's struggle to regain control won't be easy to forget. Stephanie Zvirin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; English Language edition (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140266259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140266252
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars superficial and short on facts May 23, 2001
By deb m
Levenkron takes an incredibly complex subject and turns it into a movie of the week. He's got his facts wrong -- the type of repetitive/compulsive self-injury he depicts is not related to psychosis at all. It's obvious that the all-wise, all-loving incredibly perceptive white-haired male psychotherapist is meant to be him, and the school counselor he uses as contrast is a cartoonish bad guy. The reader never really gets a good idea of what's going on, why the girl cuts, or why she stops.
Most self-harm is about coping, not psychosis -- people who never learned good ways to handle overwhelming feelings (or lack of feeling/dissociation) sometimes turn to physical self-harm as a way of reducing physiological arousal and getting back to a noramal state for them. Levenkron doesn't address this at all. In the five years I've been running a self-harm support email list, the dozens and dozens of people I've seen stop hurting themselves have achieved it by learning to look at their feelings and actively choosing another way (besides self-harm) to cope. Some had therapists to guide them. All of them did a lot of really hard work to relearn coping. The magical-therapist assumption doesn't validate that or even take it into account.
It's not the absolute worst possible book on this subject, but I'd've expected better.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the luckiest girl in the world..... February 26, 2006
Katie Roskova is a preteen ice skater striving to be a champion. She attends a private school where she keeps up her popularity, her 3.5 G.P.A, and most importantly, her smile. Along with her hectic schedule, each day Katie also shelters a secret. This secret is the only thing that keeps her sane when she begins to lose sight of her goals and her grip on reality, what she calls `spacing out'. She knows that is anyone ever finds out about her secret, she will be thought of as a monster. So she hides her secret, just as she hides the pair of scissors that are now lying in her bag protected by a clean white washcloth. The same pair that, previously that day, slid down her wrists, her elbows, her thighs, anywhere she could easily hide away. She would be tagged as a 'cutter' if anyone bothers to pay attention, but nobody expects it. Katie hides her secret well and always has, but the one-day she slips her English teacher starts to suspect the pretty little skater girl. Katie begins to lose control and her world, as she knows it, begins to spin quickly out of control. She is then challenged with keeping up her championship dreams, not disappointing her mother or her counselor, Sandy, and keeping her `condition' under control.

Steven Levenkron, the author of The Luckiest Girl in the World, does a respectable job portraying self-mutilation, which is a rising issue that is threatening teens and adolescents more and more each day. He, in my opinion, takes things a step farther. Instead of writing about what people commonly think `cutters' are, which is reclusive, depressed, and lacking friends, he writes about the truth.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good July 30, 2003
By Kenny
First off, yes, it has its faults. The therapist, Sandy Sherman, is obviously a self-insertion and Katie's skating is something that few people could relate to. The plot line is easily predictable and nearly identical to that of "The Best Little Girl in the World." Keep in mind that the idea isn't to entertain, but rather, to educate people about self-injury.
Her parents are rather stereotypical (abusive mother, not-there father), but several of my friends who cut have similar parents. They're not identical, but it's a close enough variation to be believable. I'm not saying ALL self-harmers parents fit into that stereotype, but some do.
I've noticed that a lot of people have criticized the dissociative parts of the novel ("I don't space out like that when I cut, so it's total BS," etc). True, only about half of cutters dissociate. It would have been nice if that'd been explained more clearly, but it didn't fit into the plot particularly well to do so. I think the hope is that people might read his non-fiction book on self-harm after reading Luckiest Girl, or look into it elsewhere to get more information. It's obviously not possible to include all the information on self-harm in one book, especially a fiction.
I've also seen criticisms about him choosing a young girl to play the roll, since not all cutters are young women. Yes, it would have been nice if he'd clairifed that not all cutters are young women, but statistically (to my knowledge), most cutters are middle school/high school teen girls. Again, it's not fair to ask him to cover all possibilities in one young adult book. He choose the most common victim age/sex. For one of the first books on the subject, that makes sense.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sickeningly simplistic May 28, 2002
As in his previous work of fiction, The Best Little Girl In The World, Levenkron explains a disorder away with family problems, in this case a father who left and a mother who physically abused her child in order to "encourage" her. This girl is conveniently surrounded by people who care about her, in particular "Sandy Sherman", the ever-so-wonderful psychologist (featured previously in The Best Little Girl...) who jots down notes about her progress, letting the reader know how well our Katie is coming along. It simplifies a complex disorder into "family problems and too much pressure make little girls want to cut themselves". Levenkron, in the guise of Sandy Sherman, explains that Katie has a personality disorder which triggers her moments of "spacing out", something which is *not* common to self-injurers and should not be used to explain it. A final word of warning to anyone who hurts themselves, or has recently stopped - this book is *extremely* triggering, and should be avoided.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!
Best Book in the world!!
Published 11 months ago by Juliete
5.0 out of 5 stars dare to Take a small step out-side of your closed in world and you'll...
There are so many people in this world...they all have a story that would put each us to awe if only we cared... Read more
Published 19 months ago by john
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding SI hehaviour and "Why"..
Though this was a novel, I belive Dr.Levenkron made it easier to understand why some suffer from self destructive behaviours.
Published on July 3, 2011 by bluekitty
1.0 out of 5 stars The Worst Little Book in the World
This book is not good. Katie is so unlike most high school teen girls that I can't see how anyone could relate to her. Her pushy mother is such a stereotype. Read more
Published on February 5, 2009 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Good Book
I am/was a cutter myself, so I can relate to alot of the stuff Katie goes through... It's true that not all SI's dissociate, or are teenage women, but it's the most common thing... Read more
Published on December 31, 2008 by Hi my name is Caffeine!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
I really enjoyed this product, it was a great book, shipped by a great company, and everything was very accurate. Thanks for your buisness!
Published on December 18, 2008 by Gail M. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate fiction
A fiction book based on Steven Levenkron's clients who self-injure. A wonderful look into teenage/childhood cutting. This really hit home. Read more
Published on March 16, 2008 by Selah
2.0 out of 5 stars Depression and Cutting
Katie seems to be the perfect teenager. She lives with her mother and the focus of her life is to be an Olympic figure skater. Read more
Published on July 4, 2007 by A. Luciano
3.0 out of 5 stars Did not apply
I did not care for this book much.... just because I do not feel like I can relate to it. I also just finished The Best Little Girl in the World. Read more
Published on December 6, 2006 by Tlynn2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Reads a bit like an after-school special
but still a good way to introduce people to this problem that is so misunderstood and more common than anyone thinks. Read more
Published on April 20, 2006 by Abigail A. Farrer
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