Skin Game: A Memoir [NOOK Book]


"There was very fine, an elegant pain, hardly a pain at all, like the swift and fleeting burn of a drop of hot candle wax...Then the blood welled up and began to distort the pure, stark edges of my delicately wrought wound.

"The chaos in my head spun itself into a silk of silence. I had distilled myself to the immediacy of hand, blade, blood, flesh."

There are an estimated two to three million "cutters" in America, but experts warn that, as with anorexia, this could be just the tip of the iceberg of those ...
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Skin Game: A Memoir

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"There was very fine, an elegant pain, hardly a pain at all, like the swift and fleeting burn of a drop of hot candle wax...Then the blood welled up and began to distort the pure, stark edges of my delicately wrought wound.

"The chaos in my head spun itself into a silk of silence. I had distilled myself to the immediacy of hand, blade, blood, flesh."

There are an estimated two to three million "cutters" in America, but experts warn that, as with anorexia, this could be just the tip of the iceberg of those affected by this little-known disorder. Cutting has only just begun to enter public consciousness as a dangerous affliction that tends to take hold of adolescent girls and can last, hidden and untreated, well into adulthood.

Caroline Kettlewell is an intelligent woman with a promising career and a family. She is also a former cutter, and the first person to tell her own story about living with and overcoming the disorder. She grew up on the campus of a boys' boarding school where her father taught. As she entered adolescence, the combination of a family where frank discussion was avoided and life in what seemed like a fishbowl, where she and her sister were practically the only girls the students ever saw, became unbearable for Caroline. She discovered that the only way to find relief from overpowering feelings of self-consciousness, discomfort, and alienation was to physically hurt herself. She began cutting her arms and legs in the seventh grade, and continued into her twenties.

Why would a rational person resort to such extreme measures? How did she recognize and overcome her problem? In a memoir startling for its honesty, humor, and poignancy, Caroline Kettlewell offers a clear-eyed account of her own struggle to survive this debilitating affliction.

"The author's own story about living with and overcoming 'cutting' is a poignant account of the struggle to survive this debilitating affliction that affects an estimated two to three million Americans."

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In Skin Game, Caroline Kettlewell offers a glimpse into the disturbing form of self-mutilation known as cutting. It's estimated that as many as three million adolescents, mostly girls, are afflicted with the disorder that fosters this behavior; Kettlewell's account of her own battle to overcome this obsessive, self-destructive behavior is a moving and insightful one.
Francine Prose
[This] mesmeric memoir examines the obsession with cutting that is believed to afflict somewhere around two million Americans, nearly all of them female...[Kettlewell's] language soars and its intensity deepens whenever she is recalling the lost joys and the thrilling sensation of sharp steel against her tender skin.
Laura Barcella
Skin Game is intriguing—it sheds light on a scary but significant modern phenomenon which primarily affects young women, and to which millions of people can certainly relate. Kettlewell helps her readers understand how she used cutting as a balm for her pain and anxiety, and how it worked to reduce "the chaos in [her] a silk of silence."
BUST Magazine
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Following last year's A Bright Red Scream by journalist Marilee Strong, Cutting by psychotherapist Steven Levenkron and Bodily Harm by self-injury treatment program directors Karen Conterio, Wendy Lader and Jennifer Kingson Bloom, this memoir is touted as the first personal account of compulsive self-mutilation. However, Kettlewell's story leaves more questions unaddressed than it answers. Having regularly cut her body with razor blades for most of her life, at age 36 she does not seem to have enough distance from her actions to fully understand them. Searching for a reason for her behavior, she writes about the distress and anxiety she felt during most of her childhood in rural Virginia, where her educated Northern parents were rarities. Unsure if her misery was justified, Kettlewell never talked about it, instead escaping by cutting her arms and legs, which allowed her to focus only on the present moment, the certainty of blood and pain. She still doesn't know whether she is entitled to the mental anguish she continues to suffer, and the bulk of the book, by detailing her misery, simply begs the question.We learn surprisingly few details about her life--a first marriage is summarized in a few sentences; her eating disorder in a few pages; her parents, second husband and child are never fully characterized. The text jumps repetitively and illogically between episodes, occasionally registering confusion at the level of the sentence structure ("Which one of us did I lie to protect?" is typical), and rife with maudlin metaphors and similes ("summer fell across my lap like a corpse"). Although Kettlewell's story shows courage in the writing, it will make most readers feel like voyeurs. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Francine Prose
[This] mesmeric memoir examines the obsession with cutting that is believed to afflict somewhere around two million Americans, nearly all of them female…[Kettlewell's] language soars and its intensity deepens whenever she is recalling the lost joys and the thrilling sensation of sharp steel against her tender skin.
Kirkus Reviews
A memoir of self-mutilation by a woman who grew up cutting herself with razors in an attempt to relieve the depression and anxiety she felt. Kettlewell first learned that cutting herself with a razor blade gave her a feeling of calm when she was 12. An insecure child growing up in an uncommunicative family, plagued by ever-present anxiety, she derived comfort from making small, deliberate cuts on her upper arms, legs, ears, and anyplace else on her body that could be hidden from the eyes of teachers, friends, and parents. Self-mutilation took her from the hurricane of her life into its eye: "All the chaos, the sound and fury, the uncertainty and confusion and despair—all of it evaporated in an instant, and I was for that moment grounded, coherent, whole." To a certain extent, her story is fascinating. Since various forms of self-mutilation, like eating disorders, plague a distressingly large segment of the population, it's at least sociologically relevant to read about one person's pathology. The shock of Kettlewell's story is not the fact that she used to cut herself—in this talk-show culture readers are not so easily surprised—but that she has chosen to tell her story at all, after successfully hiding her disorder for so many years. The same self-deprecation that caused the author to consider her depression out of proportion to her problems, combined, perhaps, with the urge to protect others who allowed her to keep her cutting secret, keeps her account oddly restrained, and sometimes gives it the flavor of a therapeutic exercise or a magazine article. When she writes that as a teenager she displayed "a public self whose job it was to distract attention from anyevidence of that other me," she seems unaware that the public self is still present in this book. Timely, and valuable for its insight into the cutter's psyche, but with a remove that prohibits empathy.
From the Publisher
"Superbly articulated . . . on par with Autobiography of a Face or Girl, Interrupted."—The Washington Post Book World

"Told with unflinching honesty . . . A sobering, deeply perceptive look at a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly discussed, one all the more troubling for its secret, solitary perpetration."—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A surprisingly warm and lyrical evocation of an incredibly complex struggle for survival."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Kettlewell has a well-developed sense of humor and irony . . . A gifted writer."—Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Skillful and engaging . . . Like a good novel, leaves the reader wanting to know more."—Chicago Tribune

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466847576
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 122,678
  • File size: 254 KB

Meet the Author

Caroline Kettlewell graduated from Williams College and hold a master's degree in writing from George Mason University. She and her husband live with their son in Virginia.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

One February day in the seventh grade, I was apprehended in the girls' bathroom at school, trying to cut my arm with my Swiss Army knife. It is always February in the seventh grade, that terrible border year, that dangerous liminal interlude.

I was apprehended in the girls' bathroom, in the act — to be precise — of wearing at my arm with the saw blade of my Swiss Army knife.

Until the moment of my apprehension, I didn't once think, People will find this odd. How could they? Is there nothing more fascinating than our own blood? The scarlet beauty of it. The pulsing immediacy. The way it courses through its endless circuit of comings and goings, slipping and rushing and seeping down to the cells of us, the intimate insider that knows all the news, that's been down to the mailroom and up to the boardroom.

In Mr. Davidson's biology class, the air dry with winter heat and pricked by the smell of formaldehyde and decay, we had been peering at mounted samples of unknown origin pressed flat between glass slides -- papery shreds of tissue and muddy blotches of long-dried blood. And I got the idea that it would be more interesting to examine my own blood under the microscope. Blood still wet, still rich with urgent color. I imagined lively, plump little corpuscles tumbling against each other like a miniature game of bumper cars.

Everything is perfectly clear when looked at in the right light; I chose the school bathroom for my theater of operations because if you want your blood to be fresh to the task, you have to be handy to the microscope when you bring it forth. I had brought my Swiss Army knife to school precisely for this purpose. It was recess. I would cut, and then I would quickstep down the hall to Mr. Davidson's classroom -- with its shelves crowded with chunks of rock and skeletal remains and things floating pickled in Ball jars -- and screw down the probing eye of 1OX magnification onto the very essence of my own self.

I found this plan so compelling it blinded me to other thought. The idea of the blood beckoned to me, hypnotic and seductive. How often do we know the blood of our veins? It reveals itself to us only as the herald of bad news: the injury, the illness, the sudden slip of the paring knife or the prick of the doctor's needle. Why should we meet only in disaster?

It wasn't as big a leap as you might imagine. I'd never been blood squeamish. I proudly displayed my scabs and scars, vaguely envious of my older sister, who seemed to garner all the really good injuries, the satisfyingly dramatic ones that needed stitches, and constructions of gauze and splint and tape, and shots and salves to ward off deliciously hideous consequences: lockjaw, sepsis, gangrene.

The key to success is to envision the thing in your mind. Draw the bright chrome of the blade along the slender rope of vein wrapping sinuous around your left wrist, and everything parts obediently beneath your command, like the Red Sea before Moses.

Except it didn't. The knife blade was worn too dull, as dull as the dun walls of the bathroom where I stood. With my arm braced against the warm metal shelf over a radiator, I could see the veins meandering blue and purple and green like a road map beneath the thin cover of my flesh. Only the frailest membrane of tissue keeping self from self. Yet who would have thought that skin could have so much substance, so much resistance?

I attempted and discarded in quick succession the can opener, the leather punch, and the flathead screwdriver. I settled at length on the saw blade, an unhappy compromise. It scraped back and forth like a fiddler's bow against my arm, chafing the skin red and raw. Little white clumps of flesh gummed up the blade, and the stubborn shelter of my skin refused to give way.

The radiator clanked and hissed. The bathroom smelled of disinfectant and body functions. I stood there and sawed. I wasn't doing a very good job of it, because sawing on your arm hurts. It burns. Disappointingly clumsy and painful and blundering, it was nothing like the swift, precise operation I had imagined.

To compound matters, I gathered a tiresome audience of other girls. You know, the popular girls. The typecast antagonists of the after-school movie. The ones who have always found that life just happens to be in perfect agreement with their opinions.

"Eeeuhhh. What are you doing?"

"I'm trying to cut myself," I said.


"Because I want to."

"That's really disgusting," said one.

"She just wants attention," muttered another darkly.

But still they stood about, like rubberneckers at a train wreck. After so many years of recesses, after all, what excitements are left? You have fifteen minutes, and you have to kill them somehow.

"You're going to get in trouble for this," announced the ringleader at last, rendering her verdict with a self-satisfied toss of her confident head, before guaranteeing the outcome by retreating to alert the authorities.

In the intricately nuanced grade-school hierarchy I wasn't one of those popular girls, the ones born to straight teeth and straight hair and genetically predetermined self-confidence. I wasn't one of the outcasts either — the pale kids with the weird health problems, or the ones who always said the wrong thing at the wrong time and didn't even know it, or the ones whose mothers made them liverwurst sandwiches for lunch. I had always occupied the shifting territory of the middle ground, sunk low by my hopeless ineptitude at all sports involving a ball, raised up by my standing as one of the smart kids.

I'd slid by on smart. I'd made smart do in the place of industry and application. As far back as nursery school my teacher had noted on my report card that Caroline loves to volunteer information, but Her attention span is quite easily distracted and She has no incentive to accomplish a finished or well-done paper. I never took naturally to the linearity of school, the ordered progression of hours and ideas. My mind has always raced about with the distracted enthusiasm of a dog chasing squirrels, pursuing one idea, then whirling after another, and sometimes losing itself staring up along the endlessly branching pathways down which the last idea has fled. I stared out windows, daydreaming. I doodled. I read books tucked surreptitiously within the covers of whatever textbook we were meant to be following. I got by on last-minute efforts &#151: and what's worse, I knew I could.

I got my comeuppance in sixth grade, when I was demoted to the slow-learning section for having what my school termed "a poor attitude." They didn't call it the slow-learning section, of course — B1 is what they called it, as distinguished from A, or, more direly, B2 — but we were none of us so slow-witted that we couldn't figure it out.

I remember feeling at the time of my demotion that some inevitable truth had at last come out. I come from a family of scholars and educators, and I think I've long suffered a sneaking suspicion that I've never quite measured up to the high standard of intellectual rigor valued above all else by my relations.

I can't remember a time, in fact, when I didn't think I was coming up short in one regard or another. Through no fault of her own my sister, two years older, had served as the measure by which my inadequacies were perpetually thrown into relief. She was better at sports, better at board games, better at drawing and painting and projects, more musical, more popular, and, of course, smarter.

"Oh, you're Julia's little sister," her former teachers would say to me, the first day I entered their classes at the beginning of a school year, and though I felt a swelling of pride by association, I could see already how there was no hope of proving adequate to all the expectations implied by that statement. In the first grade, according to the report by the administrator of an IQ test I took then, I kept repeating, "Oh, stupid me, that's wrong," and "I'm stupid and I can't do this."

The demotion to B1 had the quality, therefore, of a long-expected if dreaded inevitability. I even remember reassuring my parents, when the school informed us of my new class placement, that it was probably the best thing anyway.

For the better part of the day they sequestered us, the hopeless and the hapless of the B1, in a subterranean cinder-block dungeon of a classroom, its walls painted a psychosis-inducing shade of dingy yellow, its only window a narrow slit high in the wall, through which we could see the occasional passage of a knee-socked leg on the playground above. Our teacher had tried to invest the room with some faint cheer by taping up those droll little posters of bedraggled kittens and antic orangutans, captioned "Don't bother me, I'm having a bad day" or "No more monkeying around."

We were all, always, having a bad day in B1, or so it seemed. We snarled and sniped at each other, flinging invective, muttering mutinously. Every few weeks or so we were treated to a visit from the headmaster or the middle-school director, whose sole purpose in coming was to lecture us on our utter failure to live up to even the most nominal and rudimentary standards of decency and respectability, and the imminent likelihood that our entire school's reputation would be laid low by our sorry collective performance.

I have no memory at all of what we did to earn ourselves such administrative enmity, but I felt marooned in a savage land. Though mine was a small school, I swear I never saw or spoke again to any of my former comrades in A, and at the same time I felt as though my B1 classmates regarded me contemptuously as a fallen member of a corrupt aristocracy. I'd been exiled by the unforgiving academic caste system: a student without a country.

Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. Copyright © 1999 by Caroline Kettlewell. All rights reserved.

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Reading Group Guide

In Skin Game, author Caroline Kettlewell writes about her history as a "cutter," one of what is estimated to be, in the U.S. alone, as many as two to three million self-injurers-people who deliberately cut, burn, or otherwise injure themselves for the relief of overwhelming psychological distress.

"People ask me why, after keeping my history of self-injury a secret for so long, I chose to reveal it in such a very public way," says Caroline Kettlewell, about her memoir of self-injury, Skin Game.

"There isn't one specific answer to that question. In part, I wanted to write the book because I believed that my own experience would provide me a means of exploring certain questions or themes that interest me as a writer. Questions about identity, about how you define your 'self,' how you become that person you call your self, about whether you can even ever say who is the true self, given that we all play different roles in different contexts. Also, I am interested in the way that even those closest to us have secret, inner lives we know nothing about. What do we reveal, what do we conceal, and how do those choices about revealing and concealing shape our lives?

"I also wanted to write the book because there is a great deal of misunderstanding about self-injury, about what it is and what it isn't. I wanted readers to understand that even apparently 'normal' people might be self-injurers-that it could be your sister, your best friend, and your child. I wanted to try to dispel some myths and misconceptions: that self-injury constitutes a suicidal gesture; that self-injurers are by definition severely emotionally disturbed; that they are necessarily the product ofterrible, abusive environments; that they are, by the verdict of too many in the counseling/therapeutic community, 'incurable.'

"When the book first came out, I was terribly apprehensive about what the response would be among friends, co-workers, family-none of whom had known about my history of self-injury. I was surprised and relieved to find that people responded very positively. Many have told me that the emotional struggles I write about resonated deeply with their own experiences. Beyond the specifics of my particular circumstances, Skin Game is really a coming-of-age story, and in that context I think it covers often painfully familiar ground for many readers."


Discussion Questions

1. An increasing number of intimate memoirs-many on "taboo" or disturbing topics-have appeared in recent years. Proponents argue that literary memoirs can serve as a powerful means of discussing universal themes through personal experience. Critics dub the genre "Confessional" and deride it as symptomatic of a society caught up in uncritical self-absorption. Do you believe there are subjects too personal to put in a book? What is the value of using literary writing to explore highly personal experiences?

2. Kettlewell writes, in Chapter 11, "There's probably no critical mass beyond which cutting yourself would ever seem, to most people, like a reasonable choice." Does she suggest that she believed cutting was a reasonable choice? Could self-injury be argued to be a rational behavior? Does the author suggest it is?

3. Tattooing, body piercing, and even scarification and branding, have become fashionable lately. What is the difference between such body injury in the name of fashion, personal expression, or group identity, and Kettlewell's self-injury? Is there a difference? If Kettlewell's self-injury is deemed "dysfunctional" by mental health experts, should tattooing or other body alteration be thought of in the same way? What about elective plastic surgery?

4. "So when I discovered the razor blade, if you'll believe me, cutting was my gesture of hope," says Kettlewell. In what way did cutting serve as a "gesture of hope" for the author? Does the author ultimately view self-injury as self-destructive or beneficial? Or is her verdict more ambivalent?

5. "Anorexia is not for the weak," the author writes in Chapter 17. Why does starving herself make Kettlewell feel strong? Does our culture place too much value on "self-control"? Many cultural critics have noted that the standard of female slenderness grows more stringent every year, with everyone from movie stars to Miss America contestants markedly thinner today than they were 20 years ago. What do you think "thin" stands for in our society? Why is it so valued?

6. The narrative tone, the "voice" of the book, is often cool, ironic, even humorous-even in the midst of disturbing and unsettling scenes. What impression does the tone serve to give you of the narrator? Does the voice heighten or mute the intensity of the cutting scenes?

7. The author never defines a particular "cause" for her history of self-injury, but rather argues that "some things are too complex to suffer reduction to a simple equation of why/because." Do you feel that the book serves as a satisfactory explanation of why the author became a cutter? Do you think the book needs to offer a satisfactory explanation?

8. Kettlewell writes, "Here's the part where I'm supposed to have the big epiphany: some climactic confrontation, a couple of weepy scenes, and then the tidy wrap-up, the denouement." A number of recent memoirs express an ironic self-awareness of the "conventions" of memoir-in Kettlewell's case the conventions of a "recovery" memoir. As you read the book, did you expect the author to overcome self-injury by the end? Would your response to the book have been different if she hadn't? Does a memoir such as Kettlewell's have to end on a positive or redeeming note?

9. " have to make your journey and bear its scars," Kettlewell argues. Is Kettlewell suggesting that there was value in her experience with self-injury? If you could live your own life over again, are there painful incidents you would willingly relive, or would you choose to avoid them? Scientific advances hold out the promise of "curing" emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety. Can you imagine any reasons why a person might choose not to be "cured"?

10. Kettlewell notes at several points in her book that, despite her confused and turmoiled mental state, from all external appearances she led a "normal" life. Based on the story she tells, would you agree with her conclusion? If, as in Kettlewell's experience, only one aspect of a person's behavior is notably "disturbed," would it be correct to call that person mentally ill? Do you believe that emotional disorders are caused by experience, biology, or both?

11. "Memory is faithless like a cheating lover, telling you what you believe is true," Kettlewell writes. How reliable is memory? What is the difference between memoir and biography? Between memoir and literary journalism? Since two different people might have completely different memories of the same event, what defines "truth" in a memoir? Imagine how the "interrogation" scene in Chapter 2 might be different if written by one of the teachers present.

12. "We all inevitably present a version of ourselves that is a collection of half-truths and exclusions," Kettlewell writes at the end of Chapter 16. Do you believe that is true? Are there thoughts you've had or facts about yourself that you would never reveal to anyone? Is it ever possible to be completely honest?


About the Author

As a young girl-smart, creative, well loved by her family-Caroline Kettlewell made a terrible discovery: The only way to gain relief from her overpowering feelings of self-consciousness, discomfort, and alienation was to physically hurt herself. She began cutting her arms and legs in fifth grade, and continued into her twenties. Why would an intelligent young woman resort to such extreme measures? The first former cutter to tell her own story about living with and overcoming the disorder, Caroline Kettlewell has written an unforgettably poignant and shocking memoir of affliction and survival.

Caroline Kettlewell lives with her husband and their son in Virginia.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2008

    Kettlewell is a phenom.

    I read this book for a book report for my ninth grade English class. I picked it because it was something that I could relate to. I haven't read a book that has moved me as much as Kettlewell had. Self-mutilation is an addiction, and the fact that she overcame it is amazing. I idolize her strength and her writing skills.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2006

    know someone who SI's?

    As someone who has been struggling with self-injury for years, this book really helped to put all of what i was feeling into words. It's a great book if you want to get inside the mind of someone who self-injures and try to understand how they feel and think. It has some great humor in it, something i didn't expect. But it's a great read, and i definitely recommend it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2006

    Pain in words

    I couldn't put this book down. It's a great mix of emotions, a lurky meoir in the mind of someone who injures themselves. The occasional dark humor just made it a better book. Definite must read if you're interested in the way people process thoughts.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2004

    self injury

    as a self injurer... i liked this book alot... it tells it like it is and it was really good. I give it 5 stars

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2003

    Not what I thought

    As a self-injurier myself, I read this book trying to see another self-injurers point of veiw about this disorder; their story. This was more of a complaint about the authors cutting how it was a burden on her, not the 'history' of it, as the author uses multiple time. I think if you are a S.I'er you wont enjoy all this much because the author uses the term 'self-mutilation', I personally dislike the term and know others do too so just a heads up there.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2000

    'A Book That Leaves A Mark'

    `A Book That Leaves a Mark¿ Book review: Kourtney Paranteau The Skin Game, a cutters memoir (4/5) Caroline Kettlewell We all have some kind of guise we put on in public to hide parts of our true self, Caroline Kettlewell had a little bit more to hide. Nothing incredibly tragic has ever happened to her. Up to her teenage years she has had a pretty normal life. But more and more frequently she finds herself sinking into deep depressions. Cutting is the only way Caroline can find relief. To self inflict pain is her release, but it soon becomes an addiction, and the addiction soon becomes habit. Caroline¿s brutal honesty can at times be gruesome and overly graphic, because of the way she describes her blood leaving her body in detail, and every so often I had to put the book down to get the vivid visuals out of my head. Kettlewell paints a sobering and poignant picture of growing up and loss of innocence, her words read like lyrics from a song. Caroline, nearly twenty years after her days of self-flagellation, has kept an intact memory of who she once was, and the confusions and insecurities she once faced. The Skin Game is not just about a troubled girl who cuts herself, it¿s about not fitting in, alienation, and feeling foreign in your own skin. Even though the author¿s way of thinking is off beat, I found a way to relate my self to the character. I think almost every girl also can in some way, because of the simple fact that most girls don¿t sit at the table with the ¿in¿ crowd, have perfect hair, and most girls aren¿t perfectly secure. Caroline shows her insecurities like a gapping wound, and even though her physical wounds have long since scabbed over and faded, her emotional state will forever be scarred. Kettlewell tells the story of her past woes with a dry irony, and an abstract way of thinking. For anyone who enjoys Girl, Interrupted (the movie or the book) The Skin Game is a winner.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 27, 2012

    Great Book- MUST READ

    The wat Caroline explained how she grew up depending on the feel of a blade is extremely moving, and bring to your attention that nobody is who they are on the outside.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    Highly Recomended For The People That Have Ever Been Addicted to Cutting Or Some Other Type Of Self Harm. Teens or Young Adult In My Opinion

    I was at Barns and Noble one day in downtown Fort Worth and just randomly picked this off the self as i started reading I noticed that this is exactly why I cut and it gave me strength to stop along with the help of family and friends this book is wonderful I couldn't stop reading it! I sat at the store for two hours while i finished it!

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the best books I have read

    This book should be read by anyone who desires to understand self-injury, especially those that are close to a self-injurer or are themselves self-injurers. It is also simply an outstanding memoir. It was very well written and insightful; I couldn't put it down. I intend to teach middle school English, and will recomend this book to my students and their parents if they find themselves needing to face this issue. Caroline is a sympathetic heroine; I was cheering for her all the way. May more mental health professionals and families get and read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2006

    The blood runs deep, on and under the skin.

    She¿s never seen. She has excuses and/ or cover up stories, her most favorite is taking a shower. She¿s good at covering up her tracks, and lying. As a child, Caroline went to an all boys private school. The only reason she was there was because her father worked there. Depressing herself little by little, she needed a way to release the pressure, and anger. She began to cut. She would have only one razor, but she would reuse it over and over again, each time saving the blood soaked gauze. Sometimes she¿d stand in front of a mirror just looking at her blood streaked body. Relationships she has had have been open and free of secrets. She¿s told them everything. The main question they would ask would be ¿why?¿ She had no answer. She didn¿t stop after high school. On a college campus she would do the same thing. Only this time it wasn¿t her parents she hid it from, it was her roommate. Making it look like she didn¿t go to the drug store for razors, she walked in, got a few things, and at the last minute as if she had forgotten them would quickly place them on the counter with all of the other items she would purchase. Looking back at her childhood she couldn¿t remember why she began to cut or what made her feel depressed, she was smart, creative, and well loved by her family. Maybe it was because she was jealous of her older sister, or because her mom wasn¿t happy with her hanging around all the boys at the private school. She hasn¿t stopped now, will she ever?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2003

    Allowed me to understand

    'Skin Game' is an excellent memoir. The writing is of high quality and the story is fascinating in a somewhat lurid kind of way. This girl's story evokes empathy in the reader and easily keeps the reader's attention throughout. The description of the cutting itself was fascinating and utterly straightforward- she cut because it made her feel better, like a form of self-medication. This same blunt and straightforward logic is present throughout the book and contributes to its high quality. An excellent read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2000

    pretty good!

    i like this book because i am going through the same thing, and she shed light on the many reasons some drive themselves to cut. she, luckly had a happy ending, and i would recommend this book as a good read.

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    Posted September 2, 2010

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    Posted January 25, 2011

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    Posted May 11, 2010

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    Posted April 26, 2009

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    Posted March 12, 2009

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    Posted May 27, 2011

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