YAB Review: “Skinny” By Donna Cooner
- September 9th, 2012
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Today’s post comes from YAB member and book enthusiast Medha Satyal who recently read the coming of age novel "Skinny" by Donna Cooner. Medha discusses how the novel is relatable to anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable in their skin and it addresses the challenge of embracing oneself and overcoming insecurity. "Skinny" is about Ever Davies' journey growing up; she is extremely overweight and as a result, is angry and unhappy with herself. She deals with her anger by being rude to others and remaining on the sidelines. However, she undergoes gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, and the story follows her journey in becoming healthier, while highlighitng how this physical transformation helps her become a kinder and better person.
YAB Review: Skinny by, Donna Cooner
This book piqued my interest because it addresses a unique topic. Donna Cooner has had personal experience with gastric bypass surgery, and therefore I was interested in how she would portray both the physical and emotional transformations that come along with undergoing this surgery.
Sum It Up...
Ever Davies is a 15-year-old girl who weighs 302 pounds. Skinny is the fairy that sits on her shoulder and constantly taunts her about her physical appearance. Skinny's voice is always telling Ever that others hate her because of her weight, which furthers Ever's insecurity and fuels her hostility towards her peers. An unfortunate incident where a chair collapses beneath her on stage witnessed by the entire student body is the straw that breaks the camel's back. After that, having been on various diets that never worked since she was a child, she decides that she wants to get gastric bypass surgery to lose weight and become healthier. The story follows Ever's journey through the surgery — with some detail about what exactly the surgery does to a body — as well as the changes in her life afterward, which are not always easy.
But it's not only about overcoming the obstacles in her life; Ever is also striving toward something. She wants confidence. She wants to feel beautiful. Most of all, she wants to be able to show off her singing voice on stage in the school musical.
When were you hooked?
The first few lines were enough to pull me in. As soon as Skinny made an appearance, I wanted to read on to see how Ever would silence Skinny’s voice. Everyone knows what it’s like to have that voice in their head telling them that they can’t do something or that they’re not good enough so that really hit home for me.
This book is relatable for anyone who has ever felt insecure (not only those who have struggled with weight issues) which, let’s be honest, is everyone. Admittedly, Ever is a difficult character to like at first — she is rude and judgmental of others because of her own, overwhelming insecurity. However, as she realizes her personality flaws and as the novel continues, she works to be more open to relationships with her peers. I found myself rooting for her to succeed more and more throughout the book.
While this was Ever’s story, it also had some great supporting characters — my favorites being Rat and Briella. Rat is Ever’s quirky, nerdy best friend. His favorite pastime is conducting science experiments; it’s really very endearing. Briella, Ever’s step-sister, is someone that I wish had played a bigger role in this novel. She is supportive of Ever the entire time while also dealing with her own problem of an absent father.
Cooner does a great job of conveying Ever’s emotions, and I thought that using Skinny as a voice of insecurity was a great way to do this. I was also glad to see that the book describes the medical procedure that Ever undergoes in some detail instead of it just being some sort of magical transformation.
Overall, the ending of this novel is a little predictable and cliché, but the journey is a unique one. It’s a quick read that will pull at your heartstrings, and get you thinking about not just body image, but a whole host of other issues like family dynamics and misperceptions.
Medha is a junior at the College of William & Mary, where she studies Neuroscience. She is interested in social perceptions and interpersonal and intergroup interactions. In her spare time, she frequents art museums and eateries, and watches an unhealthy amount of television.