Best Little Girl In The World

Levenkron, Steven

| 1981

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At first, no one knows that something is fatally wrong with fifteen-year-old Kessa -- not her parents, teachers, friends, or family doctor. No one knows Kessa avoids eating whenever she can and forces herself to vomit when she does eat . . . that she has gone from an "A" student to failing. No one knows until Kessa's weight drops from 98 pounds to 88, 81, 78 . . . and it may be too late.

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Hannah Lilja



This book review is of the book The Best Little Girl in the World, and it is written by Steven Levenkron, he originally comes from the USA and is one of the leading experts on Anorexia Nervosa. After his first book (The best little girl in the world), he got invited to speak of Anorexia Nervosa and to teach others about it.

This is the story about a young teen girl named Francesca. The book is a touching story of how a sweet, caring girl loses her path in life. When you read this book you get an opportunity to follow a common disease such as anorexia nervosa, from the beginning until the end. You get the chance to see how her diet changes, how she does her eating rituals and also how she admires her bones and disgusts her fat.

This all started when someone who Francesca really admired, told her that if she did not lose weight, she would never have a chance to become a professional dancer. Dance was Francesca’s dream, and she was willing to go through with losing weight if necessary, And so she did. This book really opens your eyes to what you might not be able to see, it gives you some tools to see people that might be needing help. For example if someone you are close to, loses a lot of weight in a short period of time, and without being overweight, you might have a bigger chance of notice it. If you do so, you might be able to warn the person’s family and let them know about the risks with the disease.

It is a long way to go to get better from this disease and it is not easy to get good help. But it’s not impossible. What you say to another person can affect them more then you know, and this book really shows how important it is to take care of each and other. Weight issues are a lot more common these days, then it was just a few generations back. In this book the main character´s parents have a lot of difficulties to realize how sick their daughter really is, and it takes a lot of time and medical examinations before they come to face the truth. Their daughter will die, if she doesn’t get the right help.

To save her life, they have to see doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, annoying patients. They must go through family crises, accept each others differences and meet with even more doctors. No one is willing to give up hope, but just as it seems to be a lost call, they meet a very special person who gives them hope. This person is a psychiatrist named Sherman; his job is to gain Francesca’s trust and hopefully make her realize that she will die if she does not change her habits. They become friends, and start to develop a band that will be crucial for Francesca´s healing progress.

The book is very well written, and easy to read because it does not contain a lot of long and complicated words. Instead the author writes with a sophisticated everyday language. The book keeps getting better towards the end, probably because you really want to see what is about to happen next. It exciting since you have gotten to know Francesca and her family all through the book, and you have started to care for them. Even though it´s not very complicated words I think it´s still a good book to increase your vocabulary with. As I said it is very well written and probably fits almost anyone.

Steven Levenkron is not afraid to use powerful sentences and words. Such as this one, who describes how Francesca is counting the calories in her food “Over the mirror behind the counter were signs suggesting various sandwiches. Her mental calculation began to function. Ham and cheese, five hundred seventy calories. Hamburger, three-fifty. Cheeseburger, five-forty. Grilled cheese, four-fifty. Grilled cheese with bacon, five fifty, Kessa felt her stomach turn over as if it were a dog doing tricks..”

In other parts of the book when the author is explaining horrifying scenes and actions I can see the pattern he is writing in. Confident and strong, but not afraid to show emotions.

One particular part of the story is when Francesca is being operated; this part really shows off the author’s skill to make the reader feel for the main character. “I´m going to give you several injections that will numb the area, Dr Meyer said, leaning over her exposed left shoulder and breast. He was supposed to be talking to Kessa, but she had the feeling he was really speaking to the other doctors. ´Now, keep looking at the ceiling and don’t move your head. Then they started.”

Then he describes how she gets the operation done, how she is screaming of pain, all of it with great emotion.
With help of the authors great and strong words, this story will stick to your mind and you will probably learn a thing or two about the condition.

Hanna H



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