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young adult book reviews & more

Purge by Sarah Darer Littman

PurgeJanie Hyman’s life is a mess, riddled with confusion and contradictions. She may have confidence when acting on stage, but everywhere else, she’s insecure. That’s why she binges and purges several times a day even though she absolutely hates throwing up. That’s why she’s at Golden Slopes with a handful of other eating disorder kids, the Barfers and Starvers, to end, hopefully, Janie’s love-hate relationship with good—otherwise known as bulimia. But Janie doesn’t think she’s ill; she views purging as a dieting option. The combination of that with all the nit-picky rules at Golden Slopes that drive Janie crazy only convince her that she’s doomed to be imprisoned there forever. But despite that defeatist attitude, there are still some people who won’t give up on Janie, who want to help her accept the ugly truth of what started all this drama, who don’t want Janie to give up on herself.

Purge is an emotional and ultimately optimistic novel about a girl’s struggle with self esteem which helps lead to an eating disorder. The story starts off in a way that’s neither too interesting or not, though readers will immediately sympathize with Janie, but the emotional intensity greatly increases from the middle to the end of the book. As heartbreaking as it is, Littman really gets to the reasons behind eating disorders, which mostly stem from lack of self confidence and negative influence from close family members or friends. Janie’s story is particularly striking in that the trigger for her downward spiral is a painful memory she won’t let herself think about, and it’s like an imaginary tumor that grew so large it took over her life. The revelation of this event is just so extremely sad that I cried. Thankfully, the ending is a happy one, or at least as happy as it could be under the circumstances, and reminds the reader that even if certain struggles, namely bulimia, never completely go away and need to be worked at, there will always be the people who love you to make sure you make it through.

I found it very inspiring that Littman drew strength from her own personal struggles with eating disorders to write Purge. Readers who enjoyed Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers, Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee, Perfect by Natasha Friend, Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern, and Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford will also want to read Purge.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from publisher Scholastic

6 munch(es) :

Leigh said...

I've been waiting for this book since I first heard about it last year. I'm glad to hear it's as good as I had hoped!

stargirlreads said...

I loved this book so much!

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Amy said...

hmmm, wonder why I hated this book? It seems that the blogging community has way different opinions on books than me. I mean, this book was just so depressing i couldn't stand it!
-amy

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Insert Book Title Here said...

It looks really good. Great review!

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