The Girls at 17 Swann Street
by Yara Zgheib
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Pub Date 05 Feb 2019 | Archive Date 19 Feb 2019
*A BookMovement Group Read*
**A People Pick for Best New Books**
Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting portrait of a young woman’s struggle with anorexia on an intimate journey to reclaim her life.
The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.
Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.
Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 768 members
Incredible, real emotional read. I found myself relating to all the women of Swann St, and rooting for Anna. I want to know if she made it - was she one of the lucky ones?
Anyone in that situation, or fighting any mental disorder, will be able to relate.
Five stars - it was a heavy read, but so worth it!
The Girls at 17 Swann Street written by Yara Zgheib tells of a young French woman named Anna who used to dance ballet until she was injured. She moves from Paris to the U.S. with her husband, leaving the only life she’s ever known behind along with her father and sister. We first meet Anna shortly after she enters into a treatment facility after being diagnosed with anorexia.
Through Anna’s memories and thoughts and experiences at the house, we follow her journey through anorexia and recovery. It was undeniably eye-opening to follow Anna’s story. Mostly because I think everyone always assumes that those suffering from anorexia can simply choose to eat and all will be well. However, just like any mental illness, it is not so simple. Yara Zgheib lets us see that struggle, in all of it’s heart-wrenching, raw glory, through Anna. She breaks it down day-by-day, showing Anna’s good days and bad days. She shows how every single minute in the day is a battle and she shows how Anna chooses to fight.
In the end, Anna chooses her life over her disease. She chooses walks with her father and rebuilding her relationship with her sister and returning to the life she built with her husband. She learns so much about herself through her treatment and the friendships she builds with the other girls living at 17 Swann Street. I think perhaps it seemed like she only chose to get better for Matthias and not for any other reason. That isn’t the case but even if she had, why would that have mattered? As long as she found something to keep going for just a single day, that is all that matters in the end. Today it might be Matthias but once she gets stronger and grows and finds herself, it might end up being herself.
The Girls at 17 Swann Street was painful to read at times, especially uncomfortable, because of how difficult this disease can be to manage, the everyday battle to eat, the way that the patients viewed themselves and the food placed before them. Through Yara Zgheib’s lyrical writing, I was left with a better understanding of something that I have never experienced. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity by NetGalley to read and review this novel.
This book is a must read. It brings the reader into the inside world of a person dealing with an eating disorder and her struggle to regain herself from the brink of death. Anorexia and bulimia are more than a physical issue; it involves the whole person: physical, mental, spiritual. In order to recover the sufferer needs to find a reason to recover and to live. I recommend this book to everyone, especially those who love someone who is suffering with an eating disorder.
#The Girls at 17 Swan Street#NetGalley
I don’t know what I expected when this book came to my inbox. It sounded interesting and a little different from what I normally read. I thought why not. I LOVED IT! What a riveting story! And how well written! Wanna is the definite heroine of this book and she has anorexia. She’s about 26-27 and weighs only 88 pounds. She is married to Matthias. Anna and Matthias have a crazy good kind of love but her dietary disorder is killing it. My husband and I left for a short 3day trip in our RV the day after I started reading this book. Her it is the third day and I’m finished with it. I could not put Anna’s story down- I wanted to know what happened next. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I learned so much and I enjoyed every minute of it. I will definitely read others from this author. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advance copy for my honest opinion.
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