Letting Ana Go
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Letting Ana Go

4.6 34
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In the tradition of Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky, a harrowing account of anorexia and addiction.

She was a good girl from a good family, with everything she could want or need. But below the surface, she felt like she could never be good enough. Like she could never live up to the expectations that surrounded her. Like she couldn’t

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Overview

In the tradition of Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky, a harrowing account of anorexia and addiction.

She was a good girl from a good family, with everything she could want or need. But below the surface, she felt like she could never be good enough. Like she could never live up to the expectations that surrounded her. Like she couldn’t do anything to make a change.

But there was one thing she could control completely: how much she ate. The less she ate, the better—stronger—she felt.

But it’s a dangerous game, and there is such a thing as going too far…

Her innermost thoughts and feelings are chronicled in the diary she left behind.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This harrowing cautionary tale (in the vein of 2012’s Lucy in the Sky) demonstrates the inability of family and friends to rescue a loved one from the disease that has become her “best friend,” as an athletic high school sophomore with a healthy attitude toward food is gradually overtaken by anorexia. Ana narrates in diary form (ironically begun as a food journal assigned by the track coach to ensure adequate caloric intake), and each entry begins with her current weight. Her parents’ breakup, which Ana attributes to her mother’s inability to maintain her figure, becomes a catalyst for her determination to “take control.” Encouraged by her friend Jill’s desire for dieting company and Jill’s picture-perfect but almost diabolical mother, who buys them clothing in too-small sizes and says things like, “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels,” Ana records her increasingly distorted perceptions about her body, friends, parents, and self-worth. This story provides disturbing insight into the online world of “thinspiration” (anorexics encouraging each other), the limited health care resources available to treat this illness, and the mortal risk of those afflicted. Ages 14–up. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Fans of Go Ask Alice (Prentice-Hall, 1971) and Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls (Viking, 2009) will gravitate to this compelling account of one girl's battle with anorexia. Asked to maintain a food diary as a part of her cross-country training, the unnamed narrator begins her story as a healthy, well-adjusted teen from a privileged family. Her overweight mother struggles with food issues on a daily basis and receives little emotional support from her husband, who either humiliates or ignores her. Witnessing the deterioration of her parents' marriage, the teen becomes overwhelmed by a flood of conflicting emotions and channels her need for order into restricting what she eats. Through her journal entries, readers witness her gradual descent from self-discipline to denial as she convinces herself that she grows emotionally stronger as she eats less. Readers will relate to the teen's experiences navigating family dynamics, friendship, and relationships, and the first-person narrative lends realism to her character as it allows access to the reasoning behind her misguided decisions. As real as she appears, however, the prose seems too polished and situations feel staged for dramatic effect. Those seeking an authentic story may be better served reading a harrowing memoir such as Marya Hornbacher's Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (HarperCollins, 1998).—Audrey Sumser, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Mayfield, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Anyone familiar with the sensationalist pseudo-diary Go Ask Alice knows it won't end well for an anonymous (fictitious) teen who chronicles her eating disorder. The journal begins as a food diary assigned by the unnamed narrator's running coach. When the narrator goes on vacation with her friend Jill, Jill's dreamy brother, Jack, and Jill's perfectly put-together mother, Susan, Jill convinces her to restrict her eating. As in Alice, the cautionary tale thrills readers with lurid details of the unnamed diarist's spiral into danger. The diarist's weight, food intake and exercise regimen are recorded in detail, with frequent mentions of dress sizes and tips such as the "Thin Commandments." Every pressure the narrator experiences seems to be food-related, sometimes to an absurdly exaggerated degree ("Jack couldn't take his eyes off you [last night]," Susan warns the narrator after catching her with a doughnut hole. "I just wouldn't want you to start forming bad habits that would get in the way of that"). Readers who struggle with body image or with their own eating will surely have their own anxieties provoked by the obsessive details and the narrator's unresolved disgust with her own and others' bodies. A disturbing tale that feels meant to titillate rather than caution. (Fiction. 12-18)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442472136
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Publication date:
06/04/2013
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
51,545
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Letting Ana Go


  • Weight: 133

    Breakfast: Bagel (toasted), light cream cheese, orange juice (fresh squeezed! Thanks, Mom!).

    A.M. snack: (Who has time for this?) Jill gave me a Life Saver in English. (Does that even count?) It was green.

    Lunch: Turkey wrap with Swiss cheese, SunChips, Fresca, 1/2 bag of gummy fruit snacks.

    P.M. snack: Other 1/2 of the gummy fruit snacks.

    Dinner: Lasagna (1 square), Caesar salad with croutons. Dad made brownies. Ate two.

    Now I’m supposed to “write a few sentences about how I feel.” I feel this food diary is strange, and sort of funny. When Coach Perkins handed them out brouhaha ensued. (“Brouhaha” was a word on my final vocab quiz of sophomore year today. As was the word “ensued.”)

    Coach Perkins passed out pamphlets at practice. Not really pamphlets but I like all those p’s. Journals, actually.

    Coach: It’s a “food diary.”

    Vanessa: What is this for?

    Geoff: Why don’t I get one?

    Coach: Only the ladies.

    Coach said girls on other cross-country teams have been using our sport to hide their eating disorders. They run until they collapse from not eating enough, not drinking enough, not knowing enough. Hello? Dingbat? Running four to eight miles per day? You’re going to need some calories. (At least two brownies after dinner.)

    Naturally, the adults are only now catching on. They thought that’s just what runners look like. Parents: sometimes clueless.

    As a result of not eating, these girls get sick, and we girls get to write everything down.

    Our food.

    Our feelings.

    I still feel it’s funny, somehow . . . or maybe absurd. (Also on the vocab quiz.)

    Not Vanessa: This is unfair! What about the guys?

    Or Geoff: Yeah! This is cool! I wanna do it too!

    Ugh. Lovebirds. Too cute = puke.

    (COACH PERKINS: If you’re actually reading this, that was a figurative “puke” not a literal “puke.”)

    Coach says she’ll be checking the diary every practice, and then over the summer when we meet up to check in once a month before school starts. Coach Perkins is pretty.

    Ponytail, push-up bra, probably pushing forty. Not one to be trifled with. Tough as nails.

    Jill was painting her nails in my room after practice during our weekly Friday-night hang out. I told her about the food diary, and how I found it preposterous.

    Jill: Please. I’ve been keeping one for six weeks.

    Me (laughing): WHY?

    Jill: So I can lose ten pounds.

    Me: You’ll disappear.

    Jill: Shut up.

    Me: Seriously. You already look like a Q-tip on toe shoes.

    Jill: The Nutcracker Nemesis must be vanquished.

    Me: You’re losing ten pounds for Misty Jenkins?

    Jill: I’m losing ten pounds for me. I will be Clara this Christmas or you have seen my last pirouette.

    She blew on her nails and looked at me with the same wide-eyed stare she has presented each Friday night past when making pronouncements of epic proportions over popcorn. These are not to be pooh-poohed, and I made the mistake of laughing.

    She pounced with a pillow.

    A brouhaha ensued.

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  • Meet the Author

    The author was raised in the Bay Area. She started her first media company at age eighteen while attending Long Beach State University. Soon after, she launched and sold a social networking site geared toward moms and began a social media agency, working with Fortune 500 companies. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Mothering, and iVillage.com, where her satirical pieces on parenting and politics have often gone viral. In May 2012, she created Honest Toddler, a character based on her youngest child. She lives with her family outside of Montreal.

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