I love real issue books, a lot. I wanted nothing more than for this to be an excellent read. Upon starting I was sure it was going to turn out well, but end the end, I’m afraid it just didn’t hit the mark for me.
Things that didn't make the cut
The writing. The Stone Girl is written in third person and when I first started reading this was pretty exciting for me. I felt that the POV could do a lot to diversify the story and provide insight, development and depth to what could have bloomed into an unforgettable read. Unfortunately, I’m afraid this will be much of a forgettable read for me. After getting into pace with the POV I found that the lack of maturity and development within the MC, Sethie’s, character left a lot to be desired. Yes, it did provide a difference in story telling that will allow it to stand out amongst other “issue” based books but that is all, no knock-out, punch to the gut outcome like I expected. The overall flow to the story was perplexing for me. When I began reading the third person POV, while exhilarating at the time, did take some time to figure out the pace of. Post reading I realize that wasn’t just the third person aspect that made it difficult. When you mixed that with the sometimes extremely choppy writing, it was difficult to keep up with on a comprehension/attention level. I found that there were many sections that I had to totally stop and reread once, twice and sometimes had to completely toss my hands up because I still couldn’t understand the purpose or context.
Characters. As I mentioned previously, Sethie’s character left a lot to be desired. While on many levels her moments of weakness and curiosity into others was realistic, frank and devastating to read. Seems contradictory to my point being left to desire something but, focus on the word MOMENTS; because they were just that, brief moments that were overwhelmingly outweighed by naïve, immature and sometimes downright childlike behavior. Had this novel been written with a younger MC it could have worked, though readership within the rest of the story would have been lacking.
Relationships, General Story and research (ok these all don’t seem to go together, but they do for me). While the characters themselves just didn’t work, the relationships themselves did. Something to be remembered is that there is an astounding amount of individuals who suffer from Eating Disorders that also suffer from a number of other disorders, syndromes and/or mental illnesses. Being able to maintain certain types of relationships with one or a mixture of those things creates a very complex platform for a multitude of unhealthy relationships, which The Stone Girl relayed in a skilled, subtle and very disturbing way (and I mean disturbing in a good way).
Shaw/Sethie: addiction to acceptance from lovers; providing reassurance in image and providing confirmation of failures.
Janey/Rebecca: addiction to constant guilt and feelings that authority figures are constantly thinking the worst of you.
Sethie/Janey: addiction to the new, the different and the fascination with acceptance, leads to constant curiosity into others opinions and comparison of body, lifestyle and denial of issues
That’s a very general outline of examples of relationships within the book but, as you can see there is a lot beyond an Eating Disorder that plagues Sethie, which is true for a good number of actual sufferers. This is also what kept my curiosity through the end of the book. There is generally a stigma around the type of person that suffers from an eating disorder and its commonly overlooked that everyone suffers differently. The Stone Girl, for me, was far above par in description of how many teenage girls suffer from ED and other mental illness in a blender of emotion, control, self-discipline, attachment and drug use.
Overall - while the story relayed more "true to nature" ED and metal illness for me, the lacking in the rest of the book left me barely able to finish.
Review by Sliced Open Reviews
Source: NetGalley (Publisher in exchange for an honest review)