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Skin [Hardcover]

Adrienne Maria Vrettos
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct 2007
Donnie: 'I think back on things that happened. And I think about how if you were to tell stories about us, about our family, you might raise up your eyebrows and you might say, 'Well, no wonder.' I bet you think you could pinpoint where it started for her. It's easy to think that, when you can look back as something as a whole. But when you're living it, day by day, it's like you're in the belly of something and you can't see its whole shape from the inside.' Our summer by the lake was perfect. Then we came home. And that's when it all started to go wrong. 'SKIN is Donnie's story. It was Donnie who came first, when I was remembering an acneriddled classmate in high school who, despite being ostracized and discounted, seemed to have a pretty amazing life outside of school. I remembered seeing this kid with his friends, his girlfriend, his band, and I began to think about why this kid had had no problem opting out of the school cool chain to find his happiness somewhere else. He just didn't seem to care what the kids at school thought of him. When I was a kid, on the other hand, I cared a whole lot. A distance had spread between me and my junior high friends, and as high school began, I found myself adrift. Of course, now, it's obvious that everyone feels adrift at some point in high school, but at the time, the pain was very real for me, and there was no friend I could flop down beside on the couch and say, "I'm so lonely!" and be reassured.'
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Perfection Learning (Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756981158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756981150
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Not ANOTHER book about anorexia, I groaned to myself when I read the blurb. Oh, well, it might encourage me to start my diet, I thought. And bought it. And I'm glad I did, but I'm going to be honest - part of me wishes I'd never read it, because it's humbled me. Let me explain.

Donald (Donnie) is the narrator of the book. The book opens with him finding his sister dead. He says she's starved herself to death - fat guys in the locker room have bigger boobs than her. But to be honest, all of that kind of gets forgotten - or at least pushed to the back of the mind - when we meet Donnie and his sister Karen.

I've never met Donnie, and yet I can see him. That's how real he becomes in Vrettos' book. He's the younger brother of Karen, who clearly mothers him. She makes him wear his earmuffs, drags him outside to safety when their parents start yelling, and makes sure he's doing his homework. Far from being annoyed by this, Donnie clearly adores Karen, although this adoration is tempered with "real" brother/sister moments - him sitting on her and pretending to drool on her face, her grabbing his leg as he practices his karate kick on the drive, bursting out laughing at jokes their parents just don't get. And these moments make you smile too, even as the horror engulfs you.

Poor old Donnie doesn't have it easy. His parents are strange. Mom is caring but ineffective, resorting to screeching and crying, while Dad clearly has "Izzoz" of his own. We find out, during the book that Donnie and Karen's father was brought up by his gran in a retirement home filled with old women. This is largely the crux of the problem - just as the father has no idea how to be a man, husband, father, he passes this on to Donnie.
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1.0 out of 5 stars ugh 3 April 2014
By Ella
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
no. I hate this. Sorry. I thought that it was badly written and it wasn't truthful about the reality of eating disorders.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Here's what our summer at the lake is like... 24 Oct 2012
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought this was quite poor because it reminded me of every other book I have read about over-privileged teenaged Americans. They whine a lot, and they tell you they are whining too. They have self-knowledge but it's like they are just stuck with it. It's like: "I'm a Geek and I have lots of zits and I am very bad at paying attention to what I'm doing - but that's me, how can I help being so hopeless?"

This book is written from the point of view of Donnie, whose sister is ill: she is starving herself because she wants to be even thinner than she already is. It is about Donnie and his sister Karen's friend Amanda, who Donnie has a big crush on. Their mother and father don't live with each other most of the time. When he was little Karen would take Donnie outside to sit on the step when their parents fought. This is a sad book, but no one is to blame. It's just how life turns out.

After a few chapters I was horribly bored. I knew Karen would die and I didn't care. No one ever blames the child, and I suppose that's right in a way, but in another way, it was all her own doing. And if that makes me wrong, or uncaring, well tough. This is fiction wallowing in sadness for its own sake.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! 13 Feb 2010
By jane
This book is so beautifully written I cannot recommend it enough. Written through the eyes of the Brother as he watches his sister fade away and his parents marriage deteriorate, he is like a shadow in their lives and stays silent about his own problems. Sensitive and alert, he walks us through the pain, the sadness, of this complicated problem. I laughed, was horror struck, saddened and totally absorbed. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves reading.
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