Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Jane in Bloom" By: Deborah Lytton Review

Today I'm going to talk about,    "Jane in Bloom"
By: Deborah Lytton

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:

Jane's big sister, Lizzie, has always been the center of attention. No one ever pays attention to boring, plain Jane. But when Jane's twelfth birthday marks the beginning of Lizzie's final descent into a fatal eating disorder, Jane discovers that the only thing harder than living in her big sister's shadow is living without her.

In the wake of tragedy, Jane learns to look through her camera lens and frame life differently, embracing her broken family and understanding that every girl has her season to blossom. Spare and vulnerable prose marks this beautiful debut that is at once heartbreaking and uplifting.

My thoughts:
     Time for a little honesty...I would never have picked this up in a million years but the local Middle School Librarian highly recommended this book and I thought, if she loves it I better try it. So I picked it up over the weekend and started reading it on Sunday night. It's a quick read, about 2 hours, and boy did I enjoy it. It's sad and more than once I teared up, but I am glad I read it.
     Jane has always lived in the shadow of her sister, Lizzie. Lizzie was always the smart one, the one with the friends, the one who was outgoing and seemed to be the golden child. However, Jane knew of Lizzie's terrible secret...even if her parent's pretended not to know. Lizzie is an extreme anorexic, going so far as to cut one grape into four pieces and that's all she had for breakfast. When I started this book, I thought this book would be entirely about Lizzie's eating disorder. But it wasn't. I have to give credit, the author did an excellent job of showing the disorder's problems as related to Jane.
     About 1/3 of the way through the book, Lizzie passes away. From then on, the story revolves around Jane's feelings about her sister's death and how her family reacts. I'm not going to ruin it, but the story is beautifully written. You can feel the emotion in the writing, you can feel the hurt Jane feels. You can understand the utter devastation Jane's mother feels and you know the father is utterly lost in how to deal with his family fracturing. Well written and deeply emotional, Jane becomes more than just a shadow of her sister. She "blooms" into herself.
     I'm going to leave you with my favorite quote, repeated several times throughout the story. The following takes place on page 61, "Breathe in love, breathe out sadness. Breathe in Lizzie, breathe out pain. If I had known I wasn't going to get to talk to her again, I would have said so much more. I would have told her all the things I love about her. All the things I would never forget about her. Now all I can do is stare at this empty body where Lizzie used to be."  Doesn't that just break your heart? Gorgeous story and simply gorgeous writing.
     This book was a Truman Award Winner in Missouri and is recommended for grades 6-8. For more information on the Truman Readers Award, check out the Missouri Association of School Librarians website

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