Release date: February 5, 2019. Published by St. Martin’s Press. The link to the author’s blog: Aristotle at Afternoon Tea. Rating: ★★★★
Disclaimer: I know very little about eating disorders. If this review is in any way triggering, it is completely unintentional. The story follows Anna Roux, a Parisian ballet dancer, who falls in love with Matthias and moves to Missouri with him when he gets a new job. Anna has an eating disorder and is 88 pounds when she checks into a treatment facility and meets other young women like herself. The story is told in the present, as she struggles at first to pick meal choices and adapt and in flashbacks that tell the story of how she met her husband and the events leading up to her at 17 Swann Street.
I am not typically a fan of contemporary fiction, but this was GOOD. I found myself very much cheering Anna on and wanting her to succeed. Although there is sadness, the book is also hopeful. It would have been a much harder book to read if she didn’t have a devoted husband to support her.
I liked the girls at Swann Street, especially Emm and Valerie. I kind of wish we got to spend a bit more time with them. This was very much Anna’s story.
Although I’m not a usual fan of flashback story-telling, it worked well here. I felt like Anna’s father and the other supporting characters were brought to life.
I learned a lot about anorexia. As an overweight person, it’s hard for me to get in that headspace, but the author is forthright and unforgiving, sparing no details. You get a personal sense of the reality of it, how the body changes, the mind, the personality. The disease, ironically, “eats” away at everything. Careers, relationships, memories.
Thank you St. Martin’s for providing a digital eARC to read and review.