Item description for Feeling For Bones by Bethany Pierce...
Overview As Olivia, a sixteen-year-old anorexic high school girl who is fixated on becoming the impossible perfection of airbrushed magazine models, encounters small-town prying and a small rental house, she escapes through her art.
Pressurized family dynamics and a dysfunctional church experience force 16-year-old Olivia to seek her own reality. For her self-image as a thinker, painter, and older sister, Olivia determines who she thinks she ought to be. Her baggy clothes and exhaustive calorie scrutiny can't cover up the fact that she is allowing her body to wither away. As Olivia encounters small town prying and a tighter-than-comfortable rental house, her escape becomes her art. And her goal becomes the impossible perfection of airbrushed magazine models. "Feeling For Bones" is Olivia's story as her struggles become more than physical and she is finally led to the answers she was running from all along. This story opens up a window to the thought processes and struggles of teen and college-aged women who struggle with eating disorders. Young women will find a friend who thinks like they do. And mothers will find a compatriot in the battle to help their daughters deal with body image.
From Publishers Weekly Rainy-afternoon readers could do far worse than to curl up with Pierce's treat of a first novel. Pierce, who teaches English at Miami University in Ohio, introduces readers to Olivia, the 16-year-old budding artist who narrates this lush story. Olivia not only takes readers deep into her struggles with anorexia but introduces a rich cast of characters, like her funny, needy little sister, whose birth name is Claire, but who everyone calls Callapher, short for "Calla Flower." With the help of beautiful Mollie, a free-spirited, devout Christian girl who quickly befriends the family, and Margaret, an old, kind, busy-body great-aunt who is always ready with a helping hand, Olivia and Callapher do their best to settle into their new home, nicknamed "The Shoe Box" because of its tiny size. They've just moved to a small town where Mom and Dad try to make a new life after a scandal forces Dad out of his position as pastor of their old church in Ohio. This story is about family, faith, love, starting over and a whole host of life's curve balls, beautifully told by a girl who has endless heart but a tough mountain to climb when it comes to loving herself as is. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews Feeling For Bones by Bethany Pierce has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 03/05/2007 page 41
CBA Retailers - 04/01/2007 page 38
Christian Retailing - 05/07/2007 page 20
Publishers Weekly Best Books - 11/05/2007 page 35
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Studio: Moody Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.22" Width: 5.6" Height: 0.94" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2007
Publisher MOODY PRESS BOOKS #13
ISBN 080246288X ISBN13 9780802462886
Availability 0 units.
More About Bethany Pierce
BETHANY PIERCE attended Miami University s College of Art to study painting, staying a fifth year to complete a master s degree in Creative Writing. Her first book, "Feeling for Bones," was named one of the top Christian books in 2007. Presently she lives in Dayton, Ohio where she supports her writing and painting by teaching English."
Reviews - What do customers think about Feeling For Bones?
Wanting More... Sep 8, 2009
Well, I had high hopes for this book based on the high reviews I read. I am also interested in the subject of anorexia. Although the way the book danced around this issue, was strange - there was not subtle leading into it, as the book starts off with the main character fully displaying this disorder. Her naivete of what the disorder actually was pretty shocking, too. I was also surprised at just how secular this Christian fiction novel was. It was very well written, but I just couldn't really identify with any of the characters, and felt like I was waiting for something to be revealed which never was...
Best Nonfiction of the Year. Mar 31, 2009
I cannot rave about this book enough. I lent it to my friends--each from different backgrounds and ages--and each connected deeply with this book.
The characters in Pierce's novel are utterly human, complete with both flaws and beauty. As someone who went through some eating struggles similar to Olivia's, her words and perspective rang true. Describing her surroundings in terms such as "sunken," "bloated," or "bird-like" was such an accurate way of depicting a anorexia-tainted perspective and revealed how those with eating disorders can view everything in terms of their own struggle.
On the other hand, I would not necessarily recommend this book to someone currently with an eating disorder or with eating disorder tendencies. I think it could potentially be a trigger for those thoughts. It depends on the person. However, I would unblinkingly recommend this book to family members of someone struggling with an eating disorder because it is educational.
And to book lovers who are not necessarily interested in eating disorders? Read it. Buy it. Seriously. This is not a book to miss. It's unforgettable.
...a novel worthy of any prize given to literature. Aug 16, 2008
At first glance the cover of Feeling for Bones doesn't make sense. A branch, possibly from a rose bush, stretches thin and gnarled across the paper, its sharp thorns protruding from the limbs. But when we immerse ourselves in the story understanding dawns.
Olivia is sixteen-years-old when her minister father loses his job and the family moves into a ramshackle house on Great-aunt Margaret's property. Everyone tries to adjust, but it's not easy. With so much out of her control, Olivia controls the only thing she can--her body.
"Food was the first thing I thought of when I woke up in the morning, the last thing to occupy my mind before sleep."
Feeling for Bones is the intimate and brutally honest portrait of one girl's struggle to overcome a disorder she doesn't want to admit exists. With the world screaming at her from every airbrushed photo and rail-thin model, we see how easy it is for Olivia, and girls like her, to fall into the pit that is anorexia. You can never be too thin, even if you have to hide your shrinking figure from your family under baggy clothes. Through Olivia's eyes the eating disorder is exposed for what it is--an evil deception our enemy uses to destroy lives. We watch Olivia tiptoe into the kitchen after everyone is asleep and pour a handful of dry cereal into her palm. In the privacy of her bedroom she savors each one, "hiding in the darkness with the wariness of a criminal."
But Feeling for Bones isn't a doom and gloom type of story. There's hope between the pages. Without preaching, Pierce shows us that true freedom and healing can only come through Christ.
Pierce knows of what she writes. She lived many of Olivia's experiences (including her budding artistic abilities), and Pierce started writing the novel as a teen herself. But it would take years before she gained the distance needed to finish. Finally, through the lense of age, she realized she was no longer writing her own story--she was writing Olivia's. With the depth of a survivor, Pierce has penned a novel worthy of any prize given to literature. Her prose is beautiful like poetry, and her specific details and use of simile are impressive.
The sweet sister relationship Olivia has with her much younger sibling is also worth noting. They have their spats, but through several tender moments their true feelings for each other surface. Olivia's mom and dad aren't your stereotypical we're-so-busy-we-don't-care parents, either. They've been distracted by the move and financial pressures, and that's why Olivia has managed to hide her disorder for so long. But once her parents know, her Mom especially isn't willing to stand by and watch Olivia continue on that destructive path, and she makes sure Olivia knows it.
It's hard to classify Feeling for Bones. Because the main character is a teenager some might call it YA fiction. Certainly teens will relate to Olivia because she is young, but the experiences and lessons Olivia learns are universal, like Scout's in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. Olivia is every person who's looked in a mirror and wished they were someone else. She's Everyone who's ever faced a situation beyond their control.
"People told me I looked pale and tired, that I looked skinny. I did not see that. I saw a lot of white flesh and too much of it, bloating on my body in all the wrong places."
That branch on the cover? It makes sense now. The branch is Olivia. Will she see her potential and realize before it's too late how badly she's hurting herself? But even more importantly, will she let herself be saved from a compulsion that has the potential to kill?
--Reviewed by C.J. Darlington for TitleTrakk
Feeling for Bones Jun 4, 2008
This book is about a teenaged girl struggling with anorexia while her family struggles to survive after he father's been fired.
Olivia grew up as a pastor's kid until her father was fired. Now, her father, is disillusioned by the church, her mother is trying to keep a semblance of a happy home on a budget and growing tired of her husband's unemployment, and her sister runs away feeling neglected. And to make things worse, they've been planted in the middle of a small town, and you know what people say about small towns!
Olivia's walls are papered with magazine cutouts of beautiful women--women she desperately desires to model, and women with whom she'll never be able to compete.
But's it's not just about body image, for even when Olivia realizes that her eating habits are a disorder, it's not so easy to fix. Still, every night she counts the calories and fat grams and makes sure everything fits into the food pyramid. The counting soothes her and gives her a sense of control in a helpless situation.
New beginnings. That's what it's really about.
This book is excellently written with real characters that get up and walk around us. While I wouldn't use the word "quirky", each characters has their own quirks that makes you think, "That's just crazy enough to be true!" Pierce gets inside Olivia's head and creates a cast of sympathetic and flawed characters.
It has one of the best conversion scenes I've seen, although I think for me there was still a sense of, wow, so everything's just fixed now? at the end.
An annoyance in the book: catch words. Pierce made a habit out of "retorted." Olivia and her sister often retorted, and it began to get on my nerves.
Also, Olivia's narration sometimes felt pedantic. "This is how I felt. This is what I was thinking." I knew that already because Pierce did an excellent job of showing that, so I didn't need that, and those parts sludged for me.
But a good book. If you like Lisa Samson, I think you'll like this book.
Heartwarming Novel Apr 7, 2008
This novel addresses the entire spectrum of teenage issues that often arise from change, including moving to a new school, anorexia, peer pressure, and the dysfunction that exists when unexpected circumstances throw us a curve ball. It is also reflective of the role children sometimes play in providing for the spiritual and emotional needs of their parents. The story is told through the eyes of a 16-year-old girl and is delivered in an insightful way that touches the reader. Olivia becomes very real to the reader and her pain becomes palpable throughout the novel. I am delighted by this debut novel and I'm looking forward to more from the talented Ms. Pierce.