Monday, March 15, 2010


Littman, Sarah Darer. 2009. PURGE. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545052351 [Suggested Grade Levels 9- 12]


Janie has a problem. She is unwilling to admit that her eating disorder has control over her. Now she is forced to think about it all day because, after the disaster at her sister's wedding, her parents have placed her in an institution. At Golden Slopes her every move is monitored. The rules at Golden Slopes drive Janie crazy and seem to convince her that she is doomed to be imprisoned there forever. Despite her defeatist attitude, there are still people who won't give up on Janie, who want to help her accept the ugly truth of what started her disorder, and who don't want Janie to give up on herself. When Janie has to create a piece of art representing her fundamental self, all she comes up with is a black hole. The hole makes her reflect on what made her purge in the first place and how she quickly spun out of control.

PURGE's narrator, and the honest portrayal of bulimia, will engage readers. Littman tackles this huge issue with humor, honesty, and lets the raw pain of her characters shine through. The author also includes a list of eating disorder resources to help young women deal with their own inner demons and to provide information for family members and friends of teens with eating disorders.


With the novel as a guide, readers can analyze the causes, health risks, prevention, and treatment of eating disorders and create collages of mixed messages found in advertising. They can discuss how to counteract these mixed messages to avoid conditions that trigger eating disorders.


Other novels about characters struggling with eating disorders:

Anderson, Laurie Halse. WINTERGIRLS. ISBN 978067001100

Friend, Natasha. PERFECT. ISBN 9781417644056

By Brandi D. Grant

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