Parents' Guide to


By Stephanie Dunnewind, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Eating disorder recovery tale is raw and honest.

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Kids say (4 ):

PURGE's irreverent narrator and honest portrayal of bulimia will engage readers who share Janie's family difficulties and negative body attitude. The events leading up to Janie's committal are told through journal entries, with the story itself set almost entirely in a residential treatment center. Two young men are fellow patients, dispelling the idea that eating disorders are a "chick disease."

Janie's recovery seems rather rapid, with a pleased psychologist looking on as Janie confronts her parents and explains a traumatic experience to them. That trauma seems a bit forced, with a "I've been lying to you -- and to myself, in a way" journal nod to the fact it comes out of nowhere. This downplays its significance in a detrimental way. In one counseling session, Janie learns to deal with stress and anger by writing, exercising, and talking, rather than purging (though, to be fair, the doctor does note that Janie will need ongoing therapy). Secondary characters aren't well developed; they seem designed to help show (but not resolve) the variety of reasons young people end up with eating disorders, including incest and weight-obessed parents. The author, who was bulimic herself, includes a list of eating disorder resources.

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