**spoiler alert** Skinny isn't a bad book, by any stretch of the imagination. It starts out very strong and emotional, but then dwindles towards the e**spoiler alert** Skinny isn't a bad book, by any stretch of the imagination. It starts out very strong and emotional, but then dwindles towards the end. The book starts out very real, very powerful, but towards the end things just don't sit right and it becomes more of a chore to read than a pleasure.
The book centers around Holly and Giselle. Holly is a 14-year-old track star and Giselle is a medical student who suffers from anorexia nervosa. The book is really nice in that it doesn't focus only on Giselle's disorder, and actually shows there is much more to her life and her family's life than just that. Skinny starts off strong, no doubt about it. It's very enthralling and there are parts where I just didn't want to put it down, but then there were parts (especially towards the end) where I just wanted it to be over with.
There are some very uncomfortable moments that seem extremely unneeded in this book. It's very mature as far as young adult books go, and it pushes the envelope several times to make it almost qualify as fully adult. However, most of these moments don't really seem needed and seem more for shock value like Holly pleasuring herself in the bathtub. It's never mentioned again and it doesn't have any affect on the story, and just makes the readers squirm. What's the point of it?
Another thing is I really didn't like the whole Sol storyline. Sol is introduced to us as a very nice young man, charming and interesting. As the story progresses, he turns into a pervert which seems totally unlike the character we've come to know. The love triangle between he, Holly and Giselle seems absolutely idiotic. Instead of dumping him because he is quite clearly sick-minded, both girls seem to go along with him several times and don't seem to have any real horrible feelings towards him. Giselle briefly gets extremely angry at him and leaps for him and Holly, but after that she chalks it up to it being that Holly and her can "share any man" as they shared their father, and doesn't seem to be very affected by it and in fact encourages it; something that's absolutely sickening considering that throughout the book she is portrayed as being the logical of the two. It also seems to be thrown in purely for shock value at last-minute, as if the author was grasping at straws for extra drama to add when there was already more than enough.
Another thing is that some of Holly's antics make her seem much older than she is, such as puffing a joint and getting drunk. I'm sure this happens with young teenagers, but it seems more like an older teen thing to do and again, doesn't seem to set right with the general feel of the book. There are several times when the characters seem thoroughly out-of-character, leaving for a sort of disheartening experience.
There also seems to be too much drama. It gets to the point where you don't care anymore; or at least I didn't. It seems like drama is what you expect at this point, and none of it is particularly surprising or devastating. The end with Giselle dying seems very confusing, I found myself going "wait, what?" many times and it sort of lessened the impact for me personally. I also expected more of a happy ending, with at least some hope for Giselle and Holly and their family. I didn't expect it to end with Giselle recovering and everything being sugar plums and roses, but I at least expected at least a tiny flare of hope. The ending is dark - too dark - and doesn't seem to fit right with the rest of it.
Another thing that seems odd throughout the book is that Giselle seems to be "split into two". At first this just seems to be an artistic depiction of anorexia, but as it goes on it seems as if Giselle really believes this is a different person, and it becomes extremely confusing and seems unrealistic, and is distracting at the same time. I think the story would be much more enjoyable if the "lioness" were cut completely, leaving just Giselle to deal with her catastrophic problem. Another thing is that, after awhile, Giselle's medical book snippets seem to be forced and unneeded, and several times I found myself just skimming over them.
All the critique aside, this isn't a bad book. There are times when it's really interesting and painfully realistic, and paints a great picture of how anorexia can destroy a family. I have to give Kaslik props for making the anorexia realistic and true instead of forced - to me, it seems very honest and fitting. It's also nice to see it dealing with other issues instead of just an eating disorder, making for a pretty well-layered book. Like I said, the beginning and some of the middle are spectacular, however if those were cut out I'd be giving this book only two stars. Basically, it started great then started to go downhill.
I don't think people shouldn't read Skinny. I think it's a very interesting book despite it's flaws, and incredibly complex. Would I read it again? Probably not. But it was a decent read even if not a favorite, and I appreciate it even if I didn't fully, completely enjoy it....more
Amazing, enchanting, perplexing and wonderful. David Almond is a genius that makes such amazingly real fantasy it's breathtaking. So mysterious, so woAmazing, enchanting, perplexing and wonderful. David Almond is a genius that makes such amazingly real fantasy it's breathtaking. So mysterious, so wonderful; it might just be his best yet. Wonderful symbolism, wonderful storytelling; truly underrated and worth a read by anyone. A story that really can't be captured with words....more