I was really looking forward to reading this novel. I had some things to get done, so I thought I would just read a few pages and come back to it. But once I picked it up, I didn’t want to put it down, and before I knew it, I was finishing the last page and closing the book.
The book begins as twenty-six-year-old Anna Roux is moving into Bedroom 5 at 17 Swann Street.
Anna is originally from France. She is a dancer but hasn’t danced since she hurt her leg. When her husband, Matthias receives a job offer to work in the United States, Anna decides it’s a good thing. Her leg will heal and she will dance in the U.S. But after the move, things started to change.
Anna is in love with her husband and he loves her. “I have books to read, places to see, babies to make, birthday cakes to taste. I even have unused birthday wishes to spare.”
“So what am I doing here?”
Anna used to love roller coasters, ice cream, and french fries.
Anna doesn’t think she has a problem…
“I am twenty-six years old. My body feels sixty-two”
Will Anna recover? Will her marriage survive?
I was engrossed in Anna’s story but I was also intrigued by the other characters stories and what led them to 17 Swann Street. Many of the other patients are also living with anorexia, but some suffer from other disorders such as bulimia “less evident but just as lethal as anorexia”.
I’ve read quite a few books about teens and eating disorders. But this novel was a little different. Anna is twenty-six and 17 Swann Street is a women’s treatment center. I felt the author did an excellent job of showing how someone could suffer from these issues for many years but in some cases, the disorders may show up later.
I love the way the story is written. It is told from Anna’s perspective with alternating chapters telling the story of her life, her relationship with her husband, and how she ended up at 17 Swann Street. Clinic intake and assessment forms, treatment plans, and meal plans are interspersed throughout the novel.
This was a well-written novel that gave a realistic and heartbreaking look at an illness that robs its victims and their loved ones of so much. So often family and friends suffer along with the patient. This novel was emotional and enlightening, and the story brought me to tears on more than one occasion.
I really enjoyed this novel and I’m looking forward to reading more from Yara Zgheib.
I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.