Celebrate International No Diet Day By Reading Purge

 Celebrate International No Diet Day By Reading PurgeBuy Purge Celebrate International No Diet Day By Reading Purge
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover, paperback
Author: Sarah Darer Littman
Reviewer: Melissa on May 6, 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What’s the best way to celebrate International No Diet Day? In my opinion, it would be raising awareness about the dangers of dieting and eating disorders. The best way I can do just that is to post my review of Purge by Sarah Darer Littman and suggest that others read it too. If you pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.

If I had to use one word to describe Purge, it would have to be ‘emotional.’ Littman’s rendering of the YA voice is dead on making it very easy to become transported to the mindset of your own teenage years. For example, while I didn’t appreciate when Janie refers to another patient in her mind as “twiglet,” it is also clear that this negative language and cruelty contributes to the realism of the teen voice. Even those who have never struggled with bulimia like the main character Janie Ryman, you will find that the novel resonates with anyone who ever felt uncomfortable in your own skin and wanted to look differently. (NOTE: You might want to keep a kleenex box on hand to get you through the hardest parts on Janie’s road to recovery.) Some ‘issue’ novels bring you to a moment of catharsis and lead you nowhere else, but Littman adeptly details Janie’s development from start to finish.

Since Purge is a realistic ‘issue’ novel, one would hope that the experiences and motivation behind the character’s actions follows a logical path and on this account Littman follows through with a ‘truth’ that is universally recognizable. For example, in one group therapy session Janie comes to the realization that the behaviors and thoughts of her friends’ parents have a great impact on those of their children. Since one of the anorexic girls named Bethany has a mother who is CONSTANTLY counting the calories and carbs of anything that passes through her own lips and those of her kids, Janie (and the reader) isn’t at all surprised that Bethany would have an issue with food. By understanding why other individuals suffer from food-related disorders, Janie is able to come to a place of self awareness regarding her own situation.

While this is a novel about one girl’s secret struggle with bulimia and her road to recovery, I really appreciated that there is more going on with Purge than meets the eye. First, Golden Slopes – the psychiatric facility where we first encounter Janie – helps both women and men suffering from bulimia and other types of eating disorders. In so doing, Littman combats the stereotypes associated with teenage boys who suffer from eating disorders. Second, although individuals develop eating disorders in part because of the desire to be thinner, there are other factors in play, including but not limited to poor self esteem and problems within one’s family. Readers will come away with the knowledge that the reasons one  develops eating disorders are diverse and while some behaviors may have become normalized, they still denote an unhealthy relationship with food.

Celebrate International No Diet Day with YA Book Shelf and buy Purge Celebrate International No Diet Day By Reading Purge today!

  4 comments for “Celebrate International No Diet Day By Reading Purge

  1. Mr. McGoo
    May 6, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Actually, since starting my diet, (with increased excercise thrown in), I must say I’m quite pleased with the results. Bulimia is certainly an affliction worth bringing to light, but I don’t agree with such a thing as no diet day.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to pop my P90X DVD into the player and get a little more cut than I was just 12 hours ago. Then I’ll treat myself to mash potatoes…no gravy, no sour cream.

  2. May 6, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks for your comment Mr. McGoo! You certainly are entertaining. ; ) International No Diet Day isn’t against healthy eating and exercising, so if that’s what you’re doing then keep up the good work.

    On the other hand, International No Diet Day is a day that is meant to show acceptance for our bodies, whatever their shape might be, and of course, to encourage positive self esteem. When they say that they’re against dieting, it’s in the sense of using unhealthy fad diets, overly restricting one’s calorie intake, over exercising, taking diet pills, etc. in order to fit some ideal body type. This day isn’t only about bulimia, but I thought that posting a review about Purge, which discusses bulimia, anorexia and other eating disorders, such as starving oneself to make a particular weight for competitive sport and then binge eating after the competition is over, would be appropriate. Thanks again and feel free to leave another comment the next time you pop on by my site.

  3. May 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    I am so glad you reviewed this book. I know quite a few teens who have struggled with eating disorders so it will be helpful to learn more about it. Thanks for sharing this with others!

  4. May 7, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Thanks for the comment Liza! Feel free to direct them to this blog post, so they can learn more about this book. The novel shows the recovery process and depicts therapy sessions with commentary that will certainly appeal to teens facing a variety of eating disorders.

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