*Disclaimer: This was originally posted on my former blog.
Continuing on with my list of favorite books to reread to when I was younger, many of these deal with sensitive subjects. I came across many of these books in middle school, but once I moved to high school, I no longer had access to them. I have had more time to reflect on these books and why I read them multiple times.
Even though I posted this list before on my former blog, my reasons for rereading or not rereading a book has changed. So, if you were one of the few people to see that, this reasoning will be the biggest change.
Note: Many of the books featured on this list discuss subjects that may be triggering for certain readers.
Blade Silver: Color Me Scarred by Melody Carlson
Summary: Ruth Wallace knows she can only hide the scars on her arms for so long. Cutting herself doesn’t make her problems disappear, but at least it helps her cope.
Ruth needs to find someway, any way, to heal her scars–the ones she hides and the ones she can’t–before something terrible happens.
Why I reread it?: I went through phases in middle school where I would read specific topics. This one came about because I had learned about self-harm from Degrassi: The Next Generation, and I wanted to read more stories focused on it.
While the story itself might not have been as impactful as other stories I read, the writing of the story was. This ended up being placed in the circulation whenever I would reread other stories, so it held a special place in my heart.
Would I read it again?: Yes, but not for the same reasons as before. Me rereading this would be purely for nostalgia purposes rather than the content of the story. When I was younger, reading a book like this would have been therapeutic as I am able to read about a character going through this emotional and physical struggle like I was.
However, when I try to remember the character’s name or plot outside of the summary I copied and pasted above, I genuinely do not remember anything. This is not the case with Carlson’s other book which makes an appearance on this list. While I won’t actively search for this book, if I come across it in passing, I would still pick it up and maybe read.
Faded Denim: Color Me Trapped by Melody Carlson
Summary: All of Emily’s friends seem so perfect: skinny and pretty and fun and flirty. Emily loathes her slightly overweight body, and as her secret bitterness begins to eat away at her soul, she faces the dark prospect of developing an eating disorder.
Why I reread it?: I found myself relating a lot to the main character, Emily. The body image issues she encountered were similar to ones I encountered as well. This was also the result of me wanting to read stories specifically focused on eating disorders.
Would I read it again?: Yes, I would read this again. I have always struggled with my weight and appearance, and this struggle is seen in this book. I was always inspired by how the main character was able to take the steps needed to get herself out of the difficult situation she found herself in.
Being able to revisit that story always led to me reflecting on how I was handling my own situation. Sometimes, I need that piece of literature as a point base to better reflect on my life.
Thin by Lauren Greenfield
Summary: Critically acclaimed for Girl Culture and Fast Forward, Lauren Greenfield continues her exploration of contemporary female culture with Thin, a groundbreaking book about eating disorders. Greenfield’s photographs are paired with extensive interviews and journal entries from twenty girls and women who are suffering from various afflictions.
We meet 15-year-old Brittany, who is convinced that being thin is the only way to gain acceptance among her peers; Alisa, a divorced mother of two whose hatred of her body is manifested in her relentless compulsion to purge; Shelly, who has been battling anorexia for six years and has had a feeding tube surgically implanted in her stomach; as well as many others.
Alongside these personal stories are essays on the sociology and science of eating disorders by renowned researchers Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Dr. David Herzog, and Dr. Michael Strober. These intimate photographs, frank voices, and thoughtful discussions combine to make Thin not only the first book of its kind but also a portrait of profound understanding.
Why I reread it?: Thin gave me the chance to learn about how eating disorders affected real people instead of fictional characters. Reading this also encouraged me to not take the same path as these women. I have always been a large girl. However, while at certain points this seemed like my only option of losing weight and feeling more comfortable in my body, I never took that path because I saw the devastating effects. These women thought this was the only way they could become happy, but it led to more sadness.
Would I reread it again?: Yes. After watching the documentary that follows these same patients and facility, I notice that the book does a much better job in depicting what the women went through and how they coped with their eating disorders and self-harm. While the images are graphic, it properly tells their stories.
*Update: I currently have this checked out, so I should be reading this within the next few weeks.
Cut by Patricia McCormick
Summary: A tingle arced across my scalp. The floor tipped up at me and my body spiraled away. Then I was on the ceiling looking down, waiting to see what would happen next.
Callie cuts herself. Never too deep, never enough to die. But enough to feel the pain. Enough to feel the scream inside.
Now she’s at Sea Pines, a “residential treatment facility” filled with girls struggling with problems of their own. Callie doesn’t want to have anything to do with them. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with anyone. She won’t even speak.
But Callie can only stay silent for so long….
Why I reread it?: To be truthful, I don’t remember why I reread this. I believe it may have been because I read this during a time when I read other stories surrounding self-harm, and it just fell into rotation with the others.
Would I read it again?: No. Looking back over it, it is not as memorable as it was when I was younger. There were also many times when it was graphic just to be graphic. There are other stories that cover the topic in a way that leaves a much bigger impact on me than this, and I would rather spend my time reading those stories than this one.