Wednesday, May 25, 2011
When I received a copy of the 10th anniversary edition of CUT by Patricia McCormick, I wasn't sure if I had read it, so I decided to read it (possibly again) just to be sure. I can now say that I am positive that I never read CUT because I know I'd remember. This story about a girl who cuts herself deeply affected me -- as a reader and especially as a mom.
CUTE tells the story of Callie a teen girl whose parents forced her to enter a treatment facility because they discovered that she has been cutting herself. Naturally, Callie doesn't want to be there or be helped by the staff professionals; and she has basically cut herself off from all human contact. Throughout the course of CUT, Callie begins to open up to the fellow residents, the psychiatric help, and her family; and she eventually begins to deal with her cutting issues and the reasons behind them.
I don't know if this book affected me so much because I'm the mother of a teen girl, but I can say that this novel broke my heart and also scared me a great deal. It was clear that Callie was in so much pain, as were the other girls who were receiving psychiatric treatment for their illnesses, and I was just sick for the pain these young girls were experiencing. I can promise you that CUT will not always be easy to read, but it's most definitely a worthwhile one.
One thing that I enjoyed about CUT was how it captured my attention. I couldn't put the book down and I even read it in one sitting. CUT is a pretty short novel, but those 150+ pages pack a powerful punch. I was intrigued by Callie and I wanted to get to know her better. It also helped that I wanted to know why Callie was cutting herself and that didn't come until the latter part of the book. In some ways, CUT almost read as a mystery of sorts because I didn't know what had pushed Callie to these extreme measures.
CUT was Patricia McCormick's debut novel and I think it was a very impressive start. (She has since written some fantastic YA novels!) I really liked Ms. McCormick's writing style, and I especially appreciated how she captured Callie's voice. I also thought it was very unique how Callie addressed the reader, at times, as "you." It's evident that Ms. McCormick researched cutting disorders and treatment facilities because the entire book just seemed so real.
CUT is an extremely powerful novel and one that lends itself to discussion. In fact, I can easily see teen book clubs and/or mother-daughter book clubs wanting to talk about this novel. There are twelve discussion questions posted on the author's website which are appropriate for book groups or classrooms. Some of the themes you might want to explore include family dynamics, guilt, mental illness, communication, blame, attention, isolation, and of course, cutting.
CUT is a novel which will touch your heart and, at the same time, make you think. I highly recommend it to teens and parents of teens.
Thanks to Big Honcho for providing a review copy of this novel.
Giveaway alert: I have two copies of CUT to share with two very lucky readers. To enter, just fill out the form below before Tuesday, June 7th at 11:59 p.m. ET. I will randomly select and notify the winners the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. mailing addresses only. Good luck!