The Girls at 17 Swann Street

The Girls at 17 Swann Street

Book - 2019
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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.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250202444
Branch Call Number: FICTION Zgheib, Yara
Characteristics: 370 pages ; 25 cm


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May 18, 2019


ArapahoeAlice Apr 16, 2019

A compelling story--read it one evening because I couldn't put it down. Very evident that the author understands anorexia and its vicious grip. Beautiful writing, wonderful relationship between the anorexic protagonist and her husband. Excellent portrayals of difficulties many anorexics have with relationships because the disease forces them into secret, desperate internal lives. Heartbreaking information about how many anorexics don't survive, either dying from the disease or committing suicide.

Apr 12, 2019

3.5 stars rounded to 4! Extraordinary debut novel by Yara Zgheib brings us into the mind of Anna Roux who suffers from anorexia and an intimate view of how the disease affects the mental health of millions of people.
While the story was an accurate portrayal of the workings of mental health, I felt at times the writing was choppy and the use of italics often times confusing. I would have liked a more thorough development of the supporting characters. Who was Philippe? I understood him to be Anna's dance instructor, but was there a past romance? Especially because I felt he played a major role in the development of Anna's disease.
Also, can I just say -- we all deserve a Matthias!


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