Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Stone Girl - Alyssa B Sheinmel

Hey, guys! Three more weeks, max, until I’m done with all these finals and projects and can post more regularly, haha. But until then, I had some of that magical stuff called free time today, and I decided to dedicated it to books~
So I got a hold of The Stone Girl a few weeks ago from NetGalley, and I'm happy to say I finally had the time to get it read. But before I can go on with the review, I feel I have to note that The Stone Girl, and possibly this review, may contain triggers for anorexia and eating disorders. If that's not a problem for you, then on with the review!

“There are two things that are true about Sethie: one is that she is always hungry, a mean, angry kind of hunger that feels like a piece of glass in her belly; the other is that she is always missing Shaw.”

Sethie’s real name is Sarah—but don’t call her that—and she’s a student at an all girl’s school. Once upon a time, she used to be heavily involved in school, taking SAT tutoring and staying late to work on the yearbook every night. But now she has Shaw, a boy she loves and adores, who calls her kiddo despite being younger than her, and does all those lovely boyfriend things with her that she wants. Her time with Shaw is a lot of waiting for him to be late when she’s early, and sex and pot and fun and love. And Shaw likes pretty girls—so, of course, Sethie has to stay pretty. She has to stay –skinny-. If she’s skinny and pretty and enough for Shaw, one day he’ll take her hand in public, because that’s what boyfriends do, right?

The Stone Girl is Sethie’s story of dealing with anorexia amidst a whirlwind of love and friends and loss and heartbreak. It’s the type of book that you come away from having learned from, and it’s also a good read. The story itself is told from Sethie’s perspective, and because Sethie is sick, that means that the reader is in the head of a girl with skewed perceptions, something that becomes more and more apparent as the story goes on. What’s particularly interesting about being in Sethie’s perspective is seeing how her perspective changes as she falls deeper and deeper into the draws of anorexia and bulimia.

Characterwise, I find myself pitying Sethie too much for her to be my favorite character, but I do love her development. Her spin into a kind of madness is very realistic, and the author’s portrayal of her is great. Reading about her battle and confusion about everything is beyond interesting. One of my favorite parts of the books comes from Sethie’s confusion in the nurse’s office at one point: “They don’t say whether you’re anorexic if you only starve yourself some of the time. They don’t say whether you’re bulimic if you’ve only thrown up a handful of times.”

If I had to pick a favorite character, I’d probably pick Ben, a boy that Sethie gets to know later in the book. Ben is college kid and an overall nice guy who finds himself very interested in Sethie. I can’t say too much without spoiling too much of the book, but Ben is the really nice guy in the story, the one who is there to support Sethie. He’s the only who helps her realize the heartbreaking moments in her life, and the one who tries to help her get through them. He became my favorite character at a specific point in the book when he first realizes what Sethie is going through and—instead of taking advantage of her—sets himself up to be her safety net when she realizes what she’s been doing.
In all honestly, I think that Sheinmel was excellent with all of her characterizations. Sethie was the perfect mix of confusion and desperation, Janey the perfect mix of reckless teen and wise older friend, and even characters that aren’t very likable tend to have their portrayal skewed by the fact that the book is in Sethie’s perspective. 

Overall, I liked The Stone Girl for what it was, but if I’m being honest, books like this really aren’t my thing, and I may not be the best person to judge one. I’m a big girl and I’m comfortable in who I am, so I can’t really relate to the tribulations faced by the main characters. And if you’re like me, then this book might not be for you. But if liked books like Wintergirls, then you’ll probably like The Stone Girl. If you can relate to issues with eating disorders, then The Stone Girl is something you might really like. And even if you can’t really relate with the main character, like me, The Stone Girl is still a really interesting story that’s worth picking up. If The Stone Girl -does- interest you, it comes out on August 28th, so make sure you get your hands on copy!

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