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Cut Paperback – February 1, 2002
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Burdened with the pressure of believing she is responsible for her brother's illness, 15-year-old Callie begins a course of self-destruction that leads to her being admitted to Sea Pines, a psychiatric hospital the "guests" refer to as Sick Minds. Although initially she refuses to speak, her individual and group therapy sessions trigger memories and insights. Slowly, she begins emerging from her miserable silence, ultimately understanding the role her dysfunctional family played in her brother's health crisis.
Patricia McCormick's first novel is authentic and deeply moving. Callie suffers from a less familiar teen problem--she cuts herself to relieve her inner frustrations and guilt. The hope and hard-won progress that comes at the conclusion of the novel is believable and heartening for any teen reader who feels alone in her (or his) angst. Along with Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and E.L. Konigsburg's Silent to the Bone, McCormick's Cut expertly tackles an unusual response to harrowing adolescent trouble. (Ages 14 and older) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
This first novel combines pathos with insight as it describes adolescent girls being hospitalized for a variety of psychiatric disorders: "The place is called a residential treatment facility. It is not called a loony bin," states Callie, the narrator, with characteristic grit. Callie does not speak aloud for most of the story, but directs her silent commentary chiefly to her therapist. Through this internalized dialogue, readers become aware of Callie's practice of cutting herself and, more gradually, how her cutting is a response to the dynamics of her damaged family. Similarly, the other girls' problemsDanorexia, overeating, substance abuseDcome to seem (both to themselves and to readers) like attempts to fight off parental or societal obliviousness to their needs: "It's like we're invisible," says a girl during a climactic scene. While running the risk of simplifying the healing process, this novel, like Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, sympathetically and authentically renders the difficulties of giving voice to a very real sense of harm and powerlessness. Refusing to sensationalize her subject matter, McCormick steers past the confines of the problem-novel genre with her persuasive view of the teenage experience. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Top customer reviews
Callie doesn't speak. Not to her roommate. Not to the other girls in the treatment center. Not to her doctor. Not even to her beloved little brother. She doesn't know why she can't talk any more and she doesn't know why she cuts herself. But if she's going to start feeling better, she'll have to start trusting those who can help her figure out how.
Written for tweens and young teens, CUT is a good introduction to the problems and treatment for the mental health issues many teen girls face. The girls on Callie's ward deal with substance abuse, eating disorders and self injury, engage in therapy to various degrees. While this short novel is somewhat dated in terms of technology and length on inpatient treatment, young readers may be able to recognize themselves in the characters and seek appropriate help from parents or other adults.
Themes: self injury, eating disorders, substance abuse, inpatient treatment, family
CUT is an appropriate book for advanced readers as young as grade school to early high school students.
The next question you may be asking (or for some the first) is likely, "Is this a good book about cutting?" To which I say that this is probably not a perfect imitation of the trails that one goes through when engaging in self-injury. Many of the problems and issues that go along with the condition feel as though they happened before the start of the novel such as: the pressure to hide the scars, the first cut, reactions from other peers (although it is touched on briefly), or even the parents finding out. However, that doesn't mean that we, as the reader aren't given a look into the mind of a girl clearly battling with an addiction she herself doesn't understand. Callie will rip your heart out at times, but she will also fill you with hope an inspiration as you take the journey with her to defeat her demons and find out what it is that makes her feel like the worst person ever.
"Cut" is definitely a great read. Its short, and as such it doesn't really delve into the issue of self-injury, but what it does do is deliver a rich and endearing tale on why its good to sometimes seek help, and that finding our voice is the only way to silence the things we never want to say. Self-injury aside, if you're looking for something new and interesting, give "Cut" a look.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is about a young girl named Callie. Callie was sent to a treatment center for girls with various disorders, Callie herself struggles...Read more