Any "issue" book is a tough task to tackle, whether it be abuse, addiction, or in this case, eating disorders. Getting the right mixture between a character that suffers from an eating disorder and a plot, without sounding too preachy or information based, is really difficult and unfortunately, though I really enjoyed the story, I didn't feel Purge accomplished the task.
Written by Sarah Darer Littman, Purge follows Janie Ryman, a new patient at a psychiatric hospital, suffering from bulimia. Janie is resentful of her parents for putting her there and doesn't really feel she has a problem with her eating. Sure, she throws up every meal, but she isn't a starver like some of the other patients, she certainly isn't wasting away.
Through partial journal entries and the rest third person narrative, we learn about Janie's reason for becoming bulimic, as well as her ability to form friendships with the other patients at the hospital. She slowly recovers, with a bunch of rough bumps along the road including a relapse, the death of a fellow patient, and the past that just won't go away.
A little too neat and clean for me, maybe that was the problem. The end is tied up nice and neat like a bow, first she's in trouble, then every thing is better and she's on the road to recovery. Which is fine...it's fabulous when that happens, but I think the issue of bulimia was definitely the main focus, rather than the depth of characters. Janie wasn't a person to me, she was just a character, following the appropriate path of recovery.
Still an enjoyable read, this definitely won't make my favorite list for the year, but it will still be pleasing to teens.
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
Sarah Darer Littman