20 December 2012

Skinny by Donna Cooner

Find your voice.

Hopeless. Freak. Elephant. Pitiful. These are the words of Skinny, the vicious voice that lives inside fifteen-year-old Ever Davies’s head. Skinny tells Ever all the dark thoughts her classmates have about her. Ever knows she weighs over three hundred pounds, knows she’ll probably never be loved, and Skinny makes sure she never forgets it.

But there is another voice: Ever’s singing voice, which is beautiful but has been silenced by Skinny. Partly in the hopes of trying out for the school musical—and partly to try and save her own life—Ever decides to undergo a risky surgery that may help her lose weight and start over.

With the support of her best friend, Ever begins the uphill battle toward change. But demons, she finds, are not so easy to shake, not even as she sheds pounds. Because Skinny is still around. And Ever will have to confront that voice before she can truly find her own.

At least once in your life, a book comes along that forges an instant connection before page one is even started.  Skinny was that book for me.  I knew, from the moment I heard Donna Cooner give her story behind Skinny, that I wanted to read it.  I have always had private issues with my self image, but what drew me to this book was the concept of the little voice in the back of your head having a name: Skinny.  With a Cinderella-esque format, a brilliant main character held up by brilliant supporting characters, and a little shoulder devil, Skinny was the book that, for me, could do no wrong.

I say "Cinderella-esque" because it is not a retelling of Cinderella with a few shoddily hidden parallels. Cooner curves the story so that it is entirely its own creature.  From the moment I started it, I couldn't put it down.  I loved the main character, Ever (though I will forgive her for her name), with her edgy narrative voice that was tinged with a depth that went beyond the pages.  My only issue was how I wished -- so wished! -- that she would stand up for herself more.  But even when she didn't, I could deal with it, and move through the story with her without it diverting my attention.

I love Lauren Myracle's blurb for Skinny:
The best -- and truest -- depiction of the joys and pangs of transformation I've ever read.  Deeply moving, totally addictive, utterly fabulous.
I love how Skinny wasn't about preaching the warning signs of obesity or low self esteem.  It was a beautiful story of a girl who transformed inside and out, so it doesn't come off as depressing or heavy.  While it dealt with a very big subject and showed the not-so-friendly sides of human interactions, I didn't feel weighed down when I closed the book.  I felt enlightened!  It was a book that I could fully identify with, and learn from.  And I loved that.

Cooner's writing style was simple and elegant, and effortless morphed between scenes of skipping and laughing happiness, to edgy betrayals and bitter anger.  It carried along a story that built to a climax that had me grinning like a moron in my chair.  Cooner packed a thrilling conclusion within a mere few pages.  It was electric.

Skinny is a book that crosses boundaries.  It's a book that can be read by anyone and everyone, because there isn't a person out there who doesn't feel insecure about something.  Or who doesn't that that little voice of doubt niggling in the back of their mind.  With its wit and universal message, Skinny is a book I'd recommend to anyone.

Quotes
I know what they think because she whispers their thoughts into my ear.  I can hear them.  Clearly.  Constantly.

"If I ever look like that, just kill me."

Her name is Skinny. 
It just wasn't fair. God made some people naturally skinny and some people naturally fat. I'd never know how my life would have been different if I'd been one of the ones He made skinny. I didn't know how He chose. This one will be blonde, with long thin legs and great skin. This one will be short and fat with legs that rub together when she walks. I just knew I wasn't one of the lucky ones.

Book Info

  • pages - hardcover, 272
  • published - October 2012
  • publisher - Point
  • genre - contemporary
  • received via - author event
  • rating - 5/5