Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Slim Pickin': Skinny, Ibi Kaslik

I was drawn to this book because, as a chubby girl, eating disorders have always fascinated me in a twisted kind of way. The book is the story about a perfectionist medical student with daddy issues (shockingly, she's the one with the eating disorder) and her younger, athletic, academically-apathetic sister, who magically has the perfect relationship with the daddy in question.

It's not a bad book; it's actually listed for many Canadian book awards, from what the back of the cover says. Eh. I didn't really see anything award-worthy, although the final pages give themselves over to a poetic tone that is far lovelier than anything else in the book.

The book, in my opinion, tries to do too much. It's narrated in alternating chapters by the two sisters, which can be wonderful (think Joy Luck Club), but here it just takes away from the older sister, Giselle's, story because she is, after all, the main character. Holly, the younger of the two, just kind of lets us know about how her sister's problems are wreaking havoc on her life and oh, yeah, the ghosts. She sees ghosts. That part is never entirely fleshed out.

Neither is the boyfriend, really. I never quite understand his motivation for his feelings for the girls and I didn't really find him necessary to the plot.

I wanted something, if you'll pardon the term, meatier. I wanted to learn more about anorexia and the mindset that goes along with it. I already know about perfectionism and daddy issues. I wanted it to go deeper; for the character to come more to life for me. Perhaps only because Giselle's chapters were constantly interrupted by her sister's, I never felt connected to her or the story.

I guess it's from having picked this book up randomly after having poured myself into two Booker Award winners; this book isn't bad at all. It's a good read. But it's not Enright or Doyle and I couldn't help but hold that against it while I was reading.


Tress said...

OK, random book picker...what are you reading next?? Cuz I wanna read it too!

I found out that I CAN get a free library card in Nashua if I work in Nashua, so I will be acquiring one shortly. This is a very good thing!

Laura said...

if you wanted a book that dealt more heavily with the mindset of anorexia you should've picked up a psych journal or perhaps visited the non-fiction section of your local bookstore/library. Skinny wasn't a classic but it was a great read. some of your points have validity but others don't. In many ways Holly is just as vital to the plot as Giselle. I'm not an english teacher but I am extremely well read (that sounds arrogant but I don't mean it that way - I simply mean that I've had the luxury to read a huge variety of books. For teenage girls I think it's a really good book to read if only to gain a reality check of sorts. Books like Skinny, Killing Aurora and Leaving Jetty Road are all titles which don't glorify eating disorders and with the pressures in society today I think it's important that these kids get a wake up call.

Reading over my comment I didn't mean it to sound aggressive at all - sorry about that. I just wanted to defend a novel that was an enjoyable read and a solid debut effort.

entirely-music said...

i'm doing skinny of my integrated negotiated study.
i'm in year 10.
i was wondering if you could perhaps give me some ideas and pointers as to what i could use as my essay topic.
any help would be greatly appreciated.
thanks, mel x x