Christa's Reviews > Binary Star

Binary Star by Sarah Gerard
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bookshelves: three-stars, literary-fiction


[THIS BOOK IN ONE SENTENCE: An anorexic young woman falls deeper into her disease and veganarchism while engaging in a toxic relationship with an unemployed alcoholic.]

The format of Binary Star is not typical of most novels (excepting Ellen Hopkins of Crank fame and other dare-to-be-different young adult authors). This novel is written in poetic form, but more than that; it’s written as if you’re simply following the narrator’s train of thought. There are no quotations around the dialogue, so I had to figure out for myself if the unnamed young woman was just thinking, talking to someone, or being spoken to throughout the entire book.

Sprinkled around the dialogue are astronomical analogies; the main character desperately tries to relate almost every aspect of her life to what’s going on in space. She’s an astronomy student, after all; so she thinks about her mental illness, relationships, and society in terms of the galaxy’s status quo.

For non-astronomy students such as myself and a large portion of the population, these analogies seem excessive and (forgive me) yawn-inducing. Yes, I get it. Gravity. Mass. Binary Stars. Red Giant Star. White Dwarf Star. Black Holes.

But I’m not supposed to be entertained. I’m supposed to be wowed by the intense statement that’s being made. Binary Star is an ambitious work, but I don’t think that Ms. Gerard quite has the skills to back her ideas up, at least not yet. This is her debut novel. I’m willing to give any second work of hers a chance. I didn’t enjoy Binary Star, and its organization (though intended to be artistically scattered) fell far too short. But this book has heart, and more importantly, it gives an authentic glimpse into the mind of a young anorexic woman in America.

Anyone who has had anorexia or bulimia will find Binary Star especially relatable. Young and idealistic readers should also pick this book up; it’s illuminating in its amateur observation of contemporary consumerism’s harsh impact.

This review has been partially posted and originally appeared on Lovable Reader.
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Reading Progress

July 11, 2015 – Started Reading
July 11, 2015 – Shelved
July 11, 2015 –
page 5
3.01% "I'm excited to read this book! I'm going to be updating my reading here and at The Lovable Reader more often."
July 12, 2015 –
page 50
30.12% "So far, I have an inkling of what the author's trying to say... but I'm not quite sure if I understand it fully."
July 13, 2015 – Shelved as: three-stars
July 13, 2015 – Finished Reading
July 24, 2015 – Shelved as: literary-fiction

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Ellie (new) - added it

Ellie Thanks for another terrific review, Krista (I'll have to check out Lovable Reader!).

Although I'm interested in the content, based on your review it doesn't really sound like my kind of book. Maybe someday is the shelf I'd put this on.

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