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The Girls at 17 Swann Street

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The Girls at 17 Swann Street

February 2019

THE GIRLS AT 17 SWANN STREET by Yara Zgheib is a completely captivating and heartbreaking novel about a young woman with anorexia and the other women who live in the treatment facility where she is recovering. What grabbed me about this book is the voice. It’s crystal clear and sharp. That and the pacing made it so compelling. I have read a lot about this subject and have known people locked in the web of eating disorders, but here I really felt that I had an insider’s view of a much larger scope.

Anna Roux is 26 when she enters 17 Swann Street; she weighs 88 pounds. Her husband, Matthias, loves her and is completely despondent over his inability to help her. Her anorexia has become comorbid with so many other issues. The things she cares about in life pale in comparison to her slavish desire to be thin.

At Swann Street, she meets women with many varieties of eating disorders. For readers who only know this subject casually, there is a lot packed into these pages about all eating disorders and the varied strains of them. No longer will I think of just anorexia or bulimia; there are layers to each disease. Here these women are forced to confront their issues with set food plans, therapy and interactions with others. There is no hiding, or else methods like feeding tubes will be employed. These girls are teetering on the edge of death.

Readers come to know these women, though not as intimately as we do Anna, and their stories give perspective to hers. It’s not easy reading, but at the same time it was so powerful that I read it in a sitting. Yara suffered from anorexia, and while her path with the disease never got her down the same rabbit hole as Anna, it had a profound effect on her life --- enough to want to write about it in a big way. It would make for a good book group discussion provided that there are no members to whom these stories may become triggers.

The Girls at 17 Swann Street
by Yara Zgheib

  • Publication Date: February 5, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250202442
  • ISBN-13: 9781250202444