Perfect | Natasha Friend
Perfect by Natasha Friend opens up the real world of eating disorders that many teenaged girls face along with millions of other people. This book focuses not only on the struggles of one girl's disorder, but also about coping with death and finally finding closure. The reason I like this book is that it is a story that nearly everyone can relate to.
Almost half of western society knows or is related to someone with an eating disorder – I am one of them.
Isabelle Lee used to be like everyone else. At least, until her father suddenly passed away and her family turned upside down. Her mother begins suffering from depression and Isabelle refuses to cope with her father's death by eating away her problems, forcing herself to throw up, and pretends everything is completely fine. When her mother catches Isabelle with her head in the toilet, she signs her up for group therapy. Imagine Isabelle’s surprise when the most popular girl at school is also there! It turns out that she has the same problem and the two of them quickly bond – by eating excessive amounts and vomitting together.
Throughout the book the characters change, two in particular. Isabelle's mom, coping with her own grief, cannot deal with her daughter's bullimia and feels that through proper diet and exercise, it will just go away. Only by recovering her own strength first will she learn otherwise. Isabelle makes the most drastic change. After hanging out with the popular girl from school, she begins to understand how bad things have gotten with her health and realizes that even someone as perfect as Ashley might not be so perfect underneath.
Natasha Friend shows her readers the true horrors and discomforts of eating disorders and accurately describes life through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl. I learned that with eating disorders, a person can't be forced to stop – they have to do it themselves. They have to push themselves to overcome their disease with support from their family, friends and maybe even a therapist.
Although the content can be graphic, the story is written in beautiful simplicity. I definitely recommend this book for opening conversations about eating disorders between mothers and daughters. •
14yr-old Mackenzie Hendry has been writing reviews for SayItCornell.com and SayItCanada.ca since she was 8yrs old. Always a passionate reader, she aspires to study Family Law in the future.
Mackenzie Hendry, age 14
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