Who: Patricia McCormick, daily known for Sold (soon to be release movie later this year) and I am Malala
What: “Callie cuts herself. Never too deep, never enough to die. But enough to feel the pain. Enough to feel the scream inside.
Now she’s at Sea Pines, a “residential treatment facility” filled with girls struggling with problems of their own. Callie doesn’t want to have anything to do with them. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with anyone. She won’t even speak.
But Callie can only stay silent for so long….” Amazon’s descriptions
When: Adolescence in Literature, because my teacher assigns the best books! This book makes me want to read everything else McCormick has published.
Where: I’m really not sure why I have the ‘where’ tab, it’s based somewhere in like New York or Connecticut… maybe it was New England?
Why: I can’t explain my love for this book other than simply saying I can step into her life, in shoes that I already see fit. Callie is going through somewhat of a hard home life; her dad is a work-a-holic and seems to be turning into an alcoholic as well, her mom is a huge worry wart, and her little brother has extreme asthma. I’m not entire sure my interpretation of the book is 100% what McCormick meant the reader to understand, but from my understanding, Callie can’t handle her home life – she feels responsible for the downfall of her brothers health and the resulting factors of her parents downward spiral.
She cuts because she needs help, a cry for help makes it sound wrong, but for lack of a better term – I understood Callie’s cutting and her lack of hiding it from the school nurse as she was cutting for needing help. From my own experience, I had a really bad relationship with my parents in early high school (sophomore year specifically) and I (looking back on my own experience) resorting to cutting because it was a pain I could control, it was a cry for help to stop the anger coming from my home life, it was a sense of relief in a way. I can’t explain it, neither could Callie in Cut. What I can say is that I was able to get help from my friends at that time, whereas Cut seems to enforce that Callie needed to be institutionalized for her cutting.
As if mental disorders can’t be resolved in a home space – I’m not saying people don’t need to be institutionalized, I’m not a professional. But I do think that if I had a better relationship with my parents (today, I have great relationships with my parents) I never would have resorted to self-harm. A lot of teenagers think where they’re at in the world in high school is so prominent, it’s the end of the world and this is what’s going to define me forever – whereas it totally isn’t! Looking back on it now, I turned to my friends who didn’t have the best home lives either, far worse than mine and I let fear get the better of me. By junior and senior year I realized these aren’t going to be the best four years of my life, the heart break isn’t going to last, the bullies will graduate and leave, I’ll go to college and learn far more about myself and the world around me.
Knowing now, that high school isn’t so permanent makes me shake my head and think what the hell was I thinking about cutting myself, I never ever for the life of me wanted to actually hurt myself. I just sat in the darkest part of my mind and tried to ignore the world around me, by controlling a pain that wasn’t from my parents but from myself. Looking back I understand why I did it then, but hate that I did it at all. There’s one scar on my arm and I can’t remember if I got it from a scrape or an actual cut – it’s the only sense of a physical memory I have from that experience.
Annnnnd this review has gotten way longer than any other book review and insanely personal! On Goodreads, I gave this book a four out of five. To me, it was really good and one of my favorites from the semester. However, other students pointed out some problems with the way McCormick seems to demonize eating disorders – which I thought are prominent in the story considering one girl almost dies. The four out of five is simply because a lot of the students gave a lot of reasons why they didn’t like it (i.e. it’s a problem novel written to enforce teenagers dependency on adults, it’s a teenagers perspective but written from an adult point of view, and so on), but I liked it.