An Important Read
I’ve only read one book centred on Anorexia Nervosa before, and that was Wintergirls by Laurie Anderson. As soon as I saw that the Lovely Bloomsbury India was going to be releasing Countless here, I knew I HAD to read it.
Short & Sweet: Countless manages to explain and overcome anorexia in a different and somewhat more attainable light, with a baby and a broken family thrown in the mix.
Let me explain my thoughts in greater detail:
Karen Gregory had this haunted, broken and painful writing style which is exactly what I’d imagine a sixteen year old pregnant anorexic who was living by herself having. Her writing made the story come alive; made it all believable.
I loved the idea surrounding this book. I don’t think Anorexia, other eating disorders or even body image issues are talked about enough in book, especially with what expectations are doing to girls these days.
As soon as I read the synopsis for this book, I knew I had to have it. It was an AMAZING idea.
While the writing was good and the idea of the story even better, the plot is where I started having problems.
For 1) Which self-respecting parents would GIVE UP ON THEIR SICK 16 YEAR OLD AND ALLOW HER TO LIVE BY HERSELF? She was SICK. It’s a DISEASE. The book opens with Hedda living in a mouldy apartment with no money or support and OBVIOUSLY SHE’S STILL SICK. THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SUPPOSED TO BE HER SUPPORT SYSTEM ABANDONED HER. Maybe she’s let them down in the past, but we’re a) not given much information about the past but b) so WHAT? You don’t get to abandon one child for another.
I liked how the various resources available in the U.K. were highlighted. It’s important that people know what’s available to them and reach out when they feel like they need help.
Another thing I liked was how this book ended. I couldn’t help but feel that it was thoroughly irresponsible for Hedda to be allowed to have a baby with NO SUPPORT SYSTEM (Money, Family, Friends and an Eating Disorder?), but I’m glad she grew up in the end. It was a good, responsible ending and I can’t help but commend it.
Hedda came across as selfish. Maybe we can blame it on her wanting something that was more than her eating disorder, but it didn’t change the fact that she had no care for anyone else. She walked away from her mother after a trip at the mall and got herself into debt because she was too prideful to ask her parents for money.
I didn’t like her parents either. I did like Robin, Hedda’s Sister and all the other secondary characters.
I was sitting in a room filled with 50 girls and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US raised our hands when a counsellor asked up if we have Body Image Issues. EVERY. SINGLE. GIRL.
We should be reading and writing more books like Countless because of the message it sends out there – you are more than what you look liked. 3.5 stars.