The Luckiest Girl in the World: A young skater battlres her self-destructive impulsesby Steven Levenkron
Just looking at Katie Roskova, you?d think she had it all: she was pretty, popular, an A-student at an exclusive private school, and on her way to becoming a champion figure skater. But there was another Katie?the one she hid from the world?who was having trouble dealing with the mounting pressures of her young life. And it was this Katie who, with no other means of expression available to her, reacted to her overbearing mother, her absent father, her unforgiving schedule, and her oblivious classmates by turning her self-doubt into self-hatred. And into self-mutilation.In his previous novel, The Best Little Girl in the World, Steven Levenkron brought insight, expertise, and sensitivity to the painful subject of anorexia nervosa. Now he applies these same talents to demystifying a condition that is just as heartbreaking, and becoming more common everyday. Through his depiction of Katie?s self-mutilating behavior?she is called "a cutter" by her peers?and her triumphant road to recovery, he offers a compelling profile of a young girl in trouble, and much-needed hope to the growing numbers who suffer from this shocking syndrome.
Katie Roskova, a 15-year-old figure-skating hopeful, has a grueling schedule of early morning and after-school practice, plus the pressure of maintaining high grades to retain her scholarship at a private school. Despite all the strain, though, Katie's an angel, pleasing all; in reality, of course, it's a ruse. To deal with the confusion and insecurity of teenage life, Katie maintains her calm facade at a grisly cost: She ritualistically cuts herself when she feels out of control. There are numerous passages here, unsettling in their quiet terror, describing the slow precision with which Katie takes a pair of sewing scissors to her arm until the cut is deep and bloody enough to satisfy her compulsive urge. Eventually, her arms are covered with scars, hidden by her long- sleeved shirts. This is compelling, even shocking, material, but Levenkron's approach is generally one-dimensional, making the narrative seem more case study than a work of fiction. Katie's background is predictable: Her mother is abusive and domineering, her father absent, and everyone drives her to succeed at all costs. When Katie is finally caught abusing herself (repeatedly slamming her locker door shut on her hand), she's sent to Sandy Sherman for therapy. The predictability is further reinforced when Sandy enters the picturehe creates a safe space within which Katie can confront her hostility toward her mother. The psychopathology of the illness, though, and the methods for treating it, will scarcely be new or surprising for many readers in our psycho-savvy age.
Undoubtedly helpful for anyone having to deal with the self- mutilation syndrome, but as fiction it sadly lacks deftness either in plotting or in character.
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.03(w) x 7.73(h) x 0.54(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Meet the Author
Steven Levenkron has treated anorexics and cutters as part of his full-time psychotherapy practice in New York City since 1970. He has held positions in many hospitals in the New York metropolitan area, among them, clinical consultant at Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center, clinical consultant at The Center for the Study of Anorexia and Bulimia in New York City, and adjunct director of Eating Disorder Service at Four Winds Psychiatric Hospital in Westchester, New York. Currently he is a member of the advisory board of The National Association of Anorexia and Bulimia (ANAD) in Highland Park, Illinois.
His previous book, the groundbreaking novel The Best Little Girl in the World, dealt with the subjects of anorexia and bulimia, and was made into a television movie.
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