Thirteen year old Katie is just about to start eighth grade. Like many young people of her age, she is struggling to fit in to a new social crowd—and having difficult doing so. Katie, known as Kit Kat to her family and few close friends, still has some of her baby fat, unlike the fashion-model slim in-crowd girls she longs to associate with. When Anica, one of the in-crowd who acts friendly toward her, talks her into shoplifting, and after they’re caught, shifts all the blame onto her, Kate’s life starts a downward spiral. With a distracted, self-absorbed mother, a distant step-father, an absent sister, and a father with a new family, Kate has all she can deal with at home. When her friends, Carly and Dominic, start going their individual ways, she goes over the edge. She starts binge eating and then purging by inducing herself to throw up, which temporarily eases the tension. But, like most addictions, it only feeds on itself until she’s in the grip of full-blown bulimia.
Don’t Call Me Kit Kat by K.J. Farnham is a unique coming-of-age story told almost entirely from the point of view of a 13-year-old girl who is going through a most traumatic period of her life. This first-person point of view is only interrupted briefly to show a third-person view of another character, which is a bit jarring, but only mildly so. The book is otherwise well constructed and edited. The author does a masterful job of addressing a serious subject, eating disorders, in a manner that doesn’t come across as preaching or lecturing. By showing it through the eyes and actions of a young person suffering from the condition, it makes it real. Also, without beating the reader over the head with it, the author offers a harsh view of a society that burdens young people, especially young women, with unrealistic expectations, while showing the importance of having supportive family and friends. In the end, though, the most important lesson the author subtly and skillfully imparts is that each individual must take ownership of and responsibility for his or her own life.
An excellent book that I’m happy to give four stars to.