Friday, February 1, 2019

Review: The Girls at 17 Swann Street

Author: Yara Zgheib
Started reading: January 22nd 2019
Finished the book: January 30th 2019
Pages: 384
Genres: Fiction
To be Published: February 5th 2019
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads score: 4.08
My score:
Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

My thoughts
This is a strong book that touches harsh subjects in a subtle way. The book is about Anna, who is diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. She is in a treatment facility and we follow her on her struggle against this disease. It was captivating to read the story from the perspective of someone who is suffering from anorexia.

  • Medical dossier: It was interesting for me to read the way the medical dossier was filled out. There are a few moments in the story where you read Anna's medical dossier. It was something that made the story all too real, and made you also realize that anorexia does so much damage to your body.
  • Small but beautiful: The story in itself feels small. It takes place in the same spot almost all the time, and it doesn't take that long to take place, but this felt like it fit the story. Anna's world is evolving around the anorexia and nothing more, at that point in her life. So her world is very small and I could feel it in every fiber of the book as well.
  • Feels raw and real: The book has so many layers. It was so interesting for me to read the book from the POV of Anna and it feels SO REAL. It doesn't feel like it's just made up by someone who thinks maybe someone with anorexia thinks this way. It felt like Anna was a real person and that this was a recollection of what happened to her.
  • Formatting: I don't know if this is going to be fixed (or is already fixed), since the book is coming out in 4 days, but in the format that I had, some things weren't flowing and it took away some of the reading fun for me. There are cursive letters in the book and sometimes it's something that a person says, it's something Anna thinks or it's a flashback. It was very confusing to me. It was also a bit confusing because sometimes the things people said didn't have quotation marks.
A compelling story that feels raw and real. I remember watching the documentary Emma Wants To Live. This was so heartbreaking and I remember being curious what was going on in Emma's head. I feel that I understand a bit better what people with anorexia go through. I also think for some people it's still a taboo and they feel like people with anorexia should "JUST EAT" and stop being so dramatic. I do hope those people will read this book!
A clip from Emma Wants To Live

Other opinions on this book
"Grabbed me from the first page. If you are interested in compelling characters and/or complex issues, this is a must read."
- Lisa Gardner, NYT Bestselling Author

"Heartbreaking and beautiful, a brave book, stark in its realism, yet tempered by its lyrical prose."
- Diane Chamberlain, NYT Bestselling Author

Memorable quotes from this book
"The dark, ironically, makes many things far too clear."

"Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final."

Thanks for reading!
I'd love to talk books; please let me know what you think about this book/review.


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