Booktalks

Purge Booktalk

  • Grades: 6–8

What painful secrets make some kids become anorexic, and others bulemic? Enter Janie's world and find out.

At Golden Slopes the patients are divided into three groups: the Barfers, the Starvers, and the General Psychos.

Janie is a Barfer, and every time she eats too much, she hears a voice in her head, telling her how fat and ugly she is, and how no one will ever like her. The only thing that stops the voice is throwing up.

So she sticks her finger down her throat, and pretty soon she feels thin and light and empty again. And the voice is gone.

Even Janie admits she has a strange relationship with food. She likes it and wants to eat it, but once she has, she wants to puke it up almost immediately.

Janie's only been here for a few days, and it already seems like forever. She's left her entire life behind, and she's not allowed to have a computer or a cellphone, so she can’t talk to any of her friends, unless she uses the pay phone in the hall, where there is zero privacy.

Janie is determined not to reveal anything, but sooner or later, she's going to let her secret slip, and everyone is going to find out about the Incident at Perfect Jenny's Wedding, the reason she's at this place instead of at home.

She's not the only one with a secret. Tom carries a monkey on his back, a big monkey. It's been there ever since he found out his dad's secret. Helen has been here longer than anyone, and she's still not eating. Royce is a wrestler, and he starves before a meet and binges afterwards -- "Everyone does it -- it's normal for a wrestler," he says.

Missy has a mouth on her, her wisecracks designed to cover up her pain. Callie’s been here for three weeks, and she shares with Missy and Janie how to hide their barfing -- she's got all the answers. Tracey's old enough to have mothered most of the kids in here, but she doesn’t like to eat any more than the rest of the Starvers. Bethany lost weight to please her thin, athletic mother, but she didn’t stop when her mother told her she’d lost too much -- she knew her mother was just jealous.

Will they be able to share their secrets and heal their pain?

 

By Joni Richards Bodart

  • Subjects:
    Adolescent Issues, Feelings and Emotions, Mental Health, Understanding Self and Others
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