Purge by Sarah Darer Littman

Published by: Scholastic

Year of Publication: 2009

Categories: Contemporary, Mental Illness, YA

Pages: 240

Summary (from Goodreads): Janie Ryman hates throwing up. So why does she binge eat and then stick her fingers down her throat several times a day? That’s what the doctors and psychiatrists at Golden Slopes hope to help her discover. But first Janie must survive everyday conflicts between the Barfers and the Starvers, attempts by the head psychiatrist to fish painful memories out of her emotional waters, and shifting friendships and alliances among the kids in the ward.

Review: I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was realistic and thought provoking.

I thought it gave the reader an inside look into what it’s like to have an eating disorder. It makes you understand the secrecy, shame, and guilt that comes with it. It was definitely interesting to be taken to an inpatient eating disorder unit in a hospital. Little things that you thought would be easy aren’t when you have an eating disorder.

Janie was a great character. I was still thinking about her a week or so after I had finished reading the book. I’m not sure what it was about her that made Janie stay with me, but I enjoyed reading about her and getting to know her.Even though the subject matter is quite serious, there was a lot of humor in the book. The humor didn’t feel like it stuck out or didn’t belong, it felt like it belonged there.

It would be easy I think, to get caught up in cliches and stereotypes when writing a book like this. It would very easily turn into a badly made after school special. I thought Purge managed to steer clear of most of that though. Sarah Darer Littman also didn’t sugarcoat eating disorders. The causes and consequences were dealt with.

The writing style was great too. The storyline was composed of scenes from the hospital, combined with Janie’s journal entries. I thought it was a great way to get to know Janie more and what she was thinking. It felt like a very natural progression. As you get further into the book, you get to know more about Janie and the events that led her to being admitted to the hospital.

Image: goodreads.com

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.


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