Perk!: The Story of a Teenager with Bulimia

Perk!: The Story of a Teenager with Bulimia

by Liza F. Hall
     
 


Filling the void in written resources for teenage girls with eating disorders, "Perk!" is the first title in Gurze's new education and prevention series for kids, teens, and young adult. Perk, whose real name is Priscilla, is a high school student with self-doubts, weight concerns, and puppy love--all of which impel her into bulimia.
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Overview


Filling the void in written resources for teenage girls with eating disorders, "Perk!" is the first title in Gurze's new education and prevention series for kids, teens, and young adult. Perk, whose real name is Priscilla, is a high school student with self-doubts, weight concerns, and puppy love--all of which impel her into bulimia.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Katie O'Dell Madison
Perk, whose unfortunate nickname is short for Priscilla, is an artistic, animal-loving high school student, often ignored or misunderstood by her psychologist mother and gruff, incommunicative father. After Perk has a short battle with bronchitis and loses fifteen pounds, several people comment on how much better she looks. Perk starts to worry that she must have really looked fat before, and soon her worry turns to obsession, which combines with a lagging sense of self, as Perk resorts to bulimic behavior to keep the weight off and her pain from getting too close. Perk's negative self-image is underscored by a jealous friendship with a beautiful young dancer, Evvie, and an unrequited love for Dominick, a moody bad boy. While Perk struggles to hide her eating disorder, her relationships with family and friends disintegrate, and she goes to greater lengths to comfort herself by binging and purging. Perk's mother, a school counselor, is blind to Perk's symptoms and resists the notion that her daughter could be in trouble. Her father's name calling and yelling, often focused on Perk, exacerbate her problem. The family is forced to confront the situation when one day while babysitting for her baby sister Bridey, Perk goes off to purge, leaving the child alone. Bridey tumbles into an icy river, and both girls end up in the hospital. It is only there that Perk finds caring adults who will stand up for her and assist her in getting the help she needs. The author, a recovered bulimic herself, brings to life a problem often misconstrued by writers in the past. There is a painful honesty in Perk's negative self-talk that is typical of an eating disorder sufferer and all too often played down in other eating disorder novels. Readers who have experienced this condition or who know someone with bulimia will recognize this story as truthful and compassionate. Hall gets to the heart of how and why some girls turn their pain inward instead of expressing it to the outside world. The story as a whole stands incomplete as Perk's recovery is not documented. It jumps from her first day at an eating disorder support group to her full recovery as a strong young woman. The process and pitfalls of overcoming this disease would have greatly enhanced this title. With that caveat, Perk!, as with other eating disorder titles, will be a popular choice among YAs. Recommended for all libraries. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P M J S (Readable without serious defects, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9Eating helps Perk forget her nervousness. A whole basket of crackers, a cheese omelet, large shake, muffins, and a wedge of cake smother the hurt when her father calls her a "fat ass" in a fit of temper. She fails to please her gorgeous mother, so she eats. The guy she's been crazy about all year proves to be a creep, so she eats. Finally, guilt and weight gain set in. She discovers that vomiting quiets the voice in her head that screams, "You're fat!" Then her baby sister almost drowns while Perk is throwing up instead of watching her. At the hospital, a doctor also examines Perk. Her sunken eyes, skeletal frame, and blistered throat reveal her bulimia, and she, too, is admitted. With the help of a caring teacher, a new friend, and a support group for adolescents with eating disorders, the teen begins her recovery. Hall conveys Perk's horrible cycle of gorging and throwing up in a way that allows readers to feel her hopeless pain and shame. However, while the teen's eventual recovery saves the book from bleakness, it seems too easy. In the last chapter, she has managed two days without throwing up. In the epilogue, Perk seems almost totally well. Although it is one year later, and Perk admits it "gets really hard," a one-chapter recovery seems incredibly fast after 14 chapters of pain. Still, readers may close the last page with the realization that hope exists.Leigh Ann Jones, Gee Jr. High, Pilot Point, TX

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780936077277
Publisher:
Gurze Books
Publication date:
10/28/1997
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.06(w) x 7.49(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

What People are saying about this

Margo Maine
Liza Hall shows young readers that there is no glamour in bulimia and that recovery is possible if they face their feelings, family issues and other problems. Despite some graphic details, her words are optimistic -- teens, parents, and teachers will learn from her words.
— (Margo Maine, Ph.D. author of Father Hunger: Fathers, Daughters & Food)
Micheal Levine
An extremely engaging book. Hs. Hall's matter-of-fact refusal to provide pat answers to the riddles of negative body image, fear of fat, the binge-purge cycle, and recovery is both refreshing and inspirational.
— (Michael Levine, Ph.D., Kenyon College, President, Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention)

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