Skin Game: A Memoir

Skin Game: A Memoir

by Caroline Kettlewell
4.2 19

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Skin Game: A Memoir by Caroline Kettlewell

"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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466847576
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/04/2013
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 545,287
File size: 259 KB

About 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.

Caroline Kettlewell graduated from Williams College and hold a master's degree in writing from George Mason University. She is the author of the memoir Skin Game. She and her husband live with their son in Virginia.

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Skin Game 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
`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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FreakyGirlwithBlackHair More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kait_loves_the_band More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LizabeeAK More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
'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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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?