The Girls at 17 Swann Street
By: Yara Zgheib
“The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries and the ice cream…”
After years of anorexia and depression Anna, weighing just 88 pounds, seeks treatment at a group home.
This was a hard book to read because being in Anna’s head hits close to home but I also think it’s incredibly important.
While we do see flashbacks to Anna’s past and how she came to this place- I liked that the focus of 17 Swann Street was about the attempt for recovery and the support between the girls. From her welcome letter of friendship and how no girl will trigger another or leave one alone at the table and how Anna passes it on easily enough.
Also the great stress on what an anxiety it becomes to eat again. The constant fight in your brain and the medical issues how things have changed and food might not even taste the same, or like anything at all, for you any longer.
Everyone’s experiences are different but I thought The Girls at 17 Swann Street was very well-written and while Anna is a main character we get enough of the other girls to care about them and to get an idea of the different ways people travel down their own paths yet somehow wind up in the same situation.
The girls really run the gamut as well- they obviously aren’t as in-depth as Anna but again I really appreciated the support system that grows between them.
I thought it was interesting to that the therapy sessions bring up something in Anna’s past- from a pure straight reader perspective I expected that to be dealt with and it never really was. Yet from a life perspective I know all to well nothing is ever wrapped up in bows, there are no easy cures and recovery is on-going.
Needless to say I don’t think this book will be for everyone and people have different experiences. But I think it can help lead to understanding and get people talking about these issues and if you are interested in books on eating disorders/mental health it’s definitely worth checking out.
*I received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The Girls at 17 Swann Street is available now.