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Nothing Paperback – August 8, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—This short novel examines the life of a boy with bulimia. Parker Rabinowitz, 17, is good-looking, smart, and rich; he's bound to get into Princeton. He is expected to maintain perfect grades, participate in multiple extracurricular activities and service projects, and, in other words, be the perfect son. His sister, Danielle, is jealous of the attention he gets, but she is the first to notice that something is terribly wrong. Parker is binging uncontrollably, and then forcing himself to vomit. What starts out as an occasional stress release becomes an obsession controlling his life. His downward spiral climaxes when he convulses in his bathroom. He is rushed to the hospital, and after his "recovery" begins therapy. The narrative alternates between Parker and Danielle. Although the ending is a little too neat, the novel does a good job of letting readers inside the head of someone who is suffering from an eating disorder. Compelling reading.—Robin Henry, Griffin Middle School, Frisco, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Nothing shows how Friedman has the ability to easily crossover into another, more serious topic without losing her voice -- particularly her ability to peer into the human soul and discover what's uniquely compelling about each individual." -- Tom Davis "The Huffington Post - site of columnist Ariana Huffington"
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Flux; 1 edition (August 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073871304X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738713045
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,304,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I bought this book I was so looking forward to reading about an eating disorder from the point of view of a male sufferer. "Nothing" will bring to readers' attention that guys can have bulimia, but that their disease often remains undiagnosed because of their gender. They're too embarrassed to seek help, and the reason behind their changing behavior and health wouldn't even occur to most people. I, too, was unable to put down this book because the boy's accelerating academic pressure was kind of hypnotizing. He took on so much! But the look into Parker and Danielle's darkest thoughts wasn't realistic enough for me. I don't mean that I was looking for profanity or gross purging imagery or anything like that, just a whole lot more resentment on Danielle's part and more disgust and shame coming from Parker. This book reminded me of "Cut" by Patricia McCormick, in that niether author seemed to have any personal experience with self-desctructive diseases or the ability to even sound convincing about them. They managed to produce simple, "compassionate" novels that were sanitary enough for any teen reader and his or her mom. Plenty of young-adult books have made a real impact on me, and I'll wait for a better one about the grim reality of eating disorders in males.
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Format: Paperback
The book is set up with the different main characters giving a "diary" or personal point of view account of what is happening. Each account is very short being a page to a few pages long and counting for a day of time. There are headings that have "48 days before" and I kept reading because I wanted to know what the "before what" was.

The topics of male breast cancer and male bulimia are covered. I don't have any experience with either, but I thought that the reactions in the book seemed realistic. I wish there were more story once the main character was formally diagnosed and went through treatment, but the story basically ended there.

Overall I thought the characters were likable and I would recommend this book to anyone, male or female. It was a quick read, I finished it in an afternoon.
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Format: Paperback
On the outside, Parker seems to have everything going for him: he's wealthy, he's attractive, he's a track star, he's a journalist, he's active in his community, and he's a good student. However, Parker doesn't like everything that he's doing, and he doesn't like how he looks on the outside. He keeps his emotions locked up inside, where no one can see them. His father wants him to become "a nice Jewish doctor," but that's not Parker's dream. Although his parents have made him see a college consultant regularly since he was a freshman, he's still not sure what he wants to do after high school. When the pressure (from his overbearing father, from his coaches, from his friends, from himself) gets to be too much, he turns to food. After going on shopping sprees at the grocery store, he eats until he's uncomfortably full, then throws up.

Binging and purging takes a toll on both his body and his mind. He feels tired all of the time. He loses weight. He loses muscle. He loses strength. He stops hanging out with his friends. He argues with the girl he likes.

Danielle wishes she got a fraction of the attention Parker gets from their family and classmates. At first, she does not realize that that very attention has pushed Parker to hurt himself. Then, though Parker tries his best to hide what he's doing, Danielle begins to suspect something is wrong. She wonders if she should speak up, then wonders who will listen to her. As other matters at home complicate things, Danielle's narrative offers additional insight into Parker's character as well as their family life.

Nothing by Robin Friedman is written in first-person narrative, alternating between Parker's point of view and Danielle's point of view.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At times, I found this book to be very sad, but only in the most realistic and honest kind of way. I couldn't put it down - it was a one-sitting read for me. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about guys with eating disorders (this seems to be the only book easily available that deals with this under-appreciated issue), loves a book that makes you feel differently after reading it, or just to anyone who loves a good story.

This book follows Parker and his little sister Danielle, as the chapters alternate to tell the story of their family and Parker's sickness (bulimia). Danielle feels ignored being younger sister to "perfect" Parker, who is involved in nearly every possible school activity and extra-curricular activity and balances popularity. His parents seem absent and insensitive, and the only flaw with this book was I found I didn't really sympathize with the parents by the end of the story, and that was the author's intent - but maybe that wasn't the point. I sure loved all the other characters, though. The author writes with such clarity and hope that at the end, you will probably find yourself wanting to read it again.
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