Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day. (From Goodreads)
This book was definitely a page turner and it didn’t take me long to finish it. The writing is excellent, the characters are ones that stay close to you, and the overall theme is sad but there’s glints of hope as well.
It’s not an easy theme to read about, definitely but, it’s all too real and definitely something to be aware of. As you follow Anna throughout her journey and as she meets the rest of the girls, you silently want to support and help them as it’s almost they’re trapped in this vicious cycle that they can’t get out of and there’s an overall feeling of helplessness that’s prevalent. Especially moments between Matthias and Anna, you can feel the tension and almost subtle frustration Matthias feels as he tries to understand Anna and her disorder. I loved the moments between Anna and her father, however. Their interactions were meaningful and the love between them was what kept Anna going.
There is no actual plot in the book, you just follow Anna’s journey through how her disorder started, how it spiraled out of control, and how she’s attempting to treat it. It’s by no means an easy read but it’s an accurate picture of what these people go through with this disorder. It may seem trivial to some people, how Anna laments on eating full meals and being fiercely resistant and panicking over the meal portions, but it’s a real reaction to someone who’s used to eating and counting each single calorie intake throughout their day. It’s excellent writing on the author to portray this behavior and feeling throughout the book.
I do recommend this read when it’s due out in February. It doesn’t sugar coat the disorder, it blatantly tells it like it is, and we can only hope Anna can get herself out of the cycle.
I give it a 10 out of 10.
Thank you St Martin’s Press for the review copy!