ISBN-13: 9780615288529
Publisher: The Golden Road Press
Published: 2009
170 pgs

Life suppose to be good for Beth and her three best friends - Rachel, Melanie and Jenny, but deep in their hearts they knew they would have more confidence and feel happier if they could look like fellow schoolmate, Christine McCady as she is beautiful and has a perfect figure. So they came up with a plan: they would starve themselves to make them look good.

In the beginning, the girls are very determined with the plan and they supported one another but after a while, all the girls dropped out of the diet plan after they got sidetracked by other stuff except Beth. To make things worse, Beth is coping with his parents' separation after Beth's father has left the family for a younger administrative staff in his company. She felt betrayed but most of all, she is angry that her father did not make the time and effort in visiting them. No one knew her misery except Jeremy, a boy whom she knew since young. Jeremy likes her but he is unsure of her feelings towards him, while on the other side Beth is confused over her relationship with Jeremy because she is attracted to her best friend for the first time.

Beth later became more obsessed over her weight and she starved herself further despite she has lost some weight and is starting to feel unwell due to the extreme measures she took. Jeremy began to see the change in her but is it too late to stop Beth? And most importantly, is Beth willing to help herself and accept for who she is?

Dancing with Ana is a book about friendship and issues which teenagers are facing today - anorexia and self-mutilation, and I think this book is not only a must-read for all teenagers (especially teenaged girls) but to parents as well. As we know, the media often link beauty with models with a perfect body and this has led many young girls (and/or women) thinking that one is beautiful if she has a thin body, which is not the case. In Beth's case, I viewed it that though she is secretly hoping to be like Christine, her other reason for starving herself is her way of coping the stress and venting her frustration and annoyance due to her father's negligence towards them. I could feel her loneliness and helplessness and I wished she had talked to someone else regarding her problems earlier.

Self-multilation is another issue which we should be concerned about and in this story, one of Beth's friends, Rachel, has this saddening experience due to her family problem and though I read about her happy relationship with her boyfriend towards the end, there is not much mention of the relationship with her mother and whether or not if their problem are resolved. As this story focus more on Beth, perhaps this is the reason why there are little explanations on the other characters but I just could not help wondering about them.

Nicole Barker has written a great thought-provoking story about friendship, despair and acceptance, and I hope this book would help the young adults to understand more about anorexia and self-multilation and hopefully they would get the message that these would not only affect and cause misery to themselves but to the loved ones around them.
10 Responses
  1. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    I've been waiting for this review! This is a very serious subject that is hard to read, but still very important. It drives me crazy, even my 11 year old constantly asks if I think she looks fat!? She's got my blood in her, so I doubt there is anything to worry about, but it is sad that the media has this much influence on young people. Great review!

  2. Amy Says:

    I agree! Great review! My 13-year old stepdaughter is beautiful and athletic. However, she worries that her legs are too fat. Our new mantra is "it's not fat, it's muscle!"

  3. Beth F Says:

    Such an important topic. Remember when Marilyn Monroe was consider the epitome of sexiness? She was *not* a stick figure.

  4. Ana S. Says:

    The title alone makes me curious about this one :P And I like the sound of it too - especially that it's not afraid to tackle these themes.

  5. The Bookworm Says:

    I have this one in my TBR. These issues are so important.
    Great review.

  6. Alice Says:

    Great review, Melody!

    When I was in my teens, I always have this concern about my chest because even now, I'm flat chested. Now, I don't care and am happy with what I'm blessed with.

  7. Ceri Says:

    Wow, this definitely sounds like one I'd like to read. I had eating problems in the past and have a history of self harm too. I guess I never really thought about reading books that touch on those subjects until recently.

    Great review.

  8. Melody Says:

    Sandy, Amy - I think most of us have gone through that phase in our life! Still, the media has to be blamed for portraying this concept.

    Beth - I agree!!

    Nymeth - Honestly, I think about you when I saw this title! :P It took me a while after reading it that it is about anorexia and not about a girl who's named Ana.

    Naida - I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!

    Alice - Thank you! :) I heard that ladies with huge bosoms have their worries too!!

    Ceri - It's a book that will make us think about acceptance and being happy!

  9. That's a powerful book and a great review. I will most definitely want to read it!

  10. Melody Says:

    Veens - It sure is!

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