Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

4 Stars

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
(^^^It doesn’t count as quoting the ARC if it was written by someone else over 100 years ago *wink*)

I had zero intention of ever picking up The Girls at 17 Swann Street until I started noticing the ratings my friends were passing out to it around mid to late January. I will fully admit that I was hoping for a vibe like . . . .

Only set in a home for young women with eating disorders rather than mental disorders. Amazingly, I got what I was looking for. While I fully admit I have no experience with anorexia or bulimia like the girls featured here, I will say that their struggles all came off as authentic. (And if anyone attempts to cry bullshit, I would like to remind them that no two people are alike so they might want to take a whiff of themselves.) This is not an easy read, by any stretch, both in form and substance. The former due to the fact that the author pulls no punches when it comes to delivering a wallop of emotion and the latter because it appears she also may be allergic to quotation marks and contractions.

4 Stars rather than 5 because (a) while hints were dropped regarding what made Anna feel so less than that she started starving herself, nothing was ever covered in her therapy sessions and yet somehow she eventually made grand steps towards recovery anyway, (b) choosing healing for a husband she had only been with a few years rather than for herself was a bit of a message I can’t be 100% on board with, and (c) the pacing was a little off – dragging in spots for me (especially the flashbacks), but then fast-forwarding to the ending.

Still highly recommended despite those minor issues for me.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you, NetGalley!

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