Author(s): Sandy McKay
Johanna is in hospital. She can only have visitors, leave her room, or even use the phone, if she starts to eat. Johanna suffers from anorexia, and her condition has reached a point where doctors, nurses, and counsellors have had to find new ways to encourage, bribe, cajole - or, as she thinks, punish her - into returning to a normal weight. Peppered with extracts from Johanna's diary, quotations from the hospital notice boards, poems, and even bathroom graffiti. Johanna offers us wry, insightful portraits of her fellow patients in the ward. Counterbalancing her experience, Issy offers us a picture of a full family, school and social life, a life that Johanna has left behind ...for a while at least. Slowly, we - and Johanna - start to unravel the history that brought her to these desperate circumstances. Sandy McKay tackles a very sober topic with a lightness of touch that neither undermines the gravity of the subject, nor skirts the most difficult truths about the condition. This is a novel about a young girl's journey back to health and on towards independence, and the power of friendship. And it is her best yet. We admire this novel's sanity, its directness and its heartfelt, delicate touch. A landmark novel.