April 2, 2010

Cardboard: A Woman Left for Dead by Fiona Place

When Fiona contacted me about reviewing Cardboard, I was a little hesitant because it covers such a sensitive subject - anorexia. As I'm sure we all have, I had a couple of friends during high school that struggled with eating disorders so I decided that I would give this book a chance.

It's been a long time since I've read a book that really put me into a life I've never known, into the shoes of someone whose path I've never traveled, and into a mind that I could both relate to and not understand at all. That's what Cardboard did for me. The book is written in what feels like stream of consciousness narrative from a woman who struggles with anorexia, which leads to other psychological and social disorders (e.g., afraid of employment, afraid of relationships with men). Parts of the narrative are written in paragraph form and other pieces are written in short chunks of what really feels like a random thought in the woman's mind. The different types of narrative mixed together perfectly matched what I imagined the main character's mind to be like. I love modern literature, and this fascinated me.

This is also one of those books that is both hard to read and hard to put down. I kept getting caught up in Lucy's almost recovery and then heartbroken as she continued to falter on that path. Even though it was fiction, the story felt very real, like it was written about someone in particular or from the author's own personal experiences. And even though I personally don't have an eating disorder or suffer from any other psychological disorders (that I know of), I could relate to Lucy's desire for control and her nervousness and fear when she sensed a loss of control. I probably wouldn't pick this book up to read again but I'm glad I read it in the first place because it was eye-opening, insightful, and definitely worth reading. 5 stars


  1. the cover is so cute...haha! nicely reviewed..=)

  2. As a physician who specializes in eating disorders, it is rewarding to hear of this book which gives the reader a sense of the experience of having anorexia nervosa. More importantly is the sense that the book may actually allow readers to identify with the underlying issues that actually contribute to developing an eating disorder - the need for control in an out of control world, feeling overwhelmed and difficulty expressing emotions. If readers can experience empathy towards those with anorexia through reading this book, it will, I am sure bridge the gap to understanding those in real life who suffer with this life-threatening disease.

    Carolyn Ross, MD

  3. I very recently also had the opportunity to read and review this book. Cardboard does have a thoroughly modern feel to it, due to the prose and poetry format. I was also quite fortunate to interview the author, Fiona Place, on my blog as well.


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