By Yara Zgheib
17 Swann Street is a rehabilitation center based out of a pink house. The residents are women battling eating disorders. Every lady there is helpless against their disorder. This is their last chance at survival. In need of desperate help our main character Anna is delivered to the care of the house staff members by loving husband. With a plan to rehabilitate the former dancer, Anna begins a strict treatment plan. Along with the other girls in the house Anna is to eat 6 meals per day. This is a tortuous task.
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We learn more about the girls and their overseers, direct care, primarily at meal times. Each time we witness the girls have mental breakdowns over a meal, it is obvious their pain surrounding food is deep and dangerous. Yara Zgheib gives us an education on what it is like to have an eating disorder escalate to this level. Not only do we learn of their pain, we also see how alienated they are. They only have one another. Direct Care staff is never called by name in the book, and they never formally introduced themselves. That says so much about how the girls must feel in relation to the people forcing them to behave in ways that terrify them
We got tidbits of information concerning the real-life consequences of such an illness within a story whose character as we grow to sympathize with. In fact, this book depicts eating disorders so thoroughly, I didn't think there was anything more left to say. In a way it made the book uneventful, but in another, it proved Yara Zgheib is a great author. She penned a story that had realistic characters, with real transparency and recovery limitations.
Yara Zgheib did just enough to help me better understand the weight of these life or death scenarios. Unlike many others I find her restraint in telling the story fitting.
To purchase 17 Swann Street click here.
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