readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June: Sarah Darer Littman

I can't tell you how thrilled I was when I heard that the postergirlz recommended my most recent novel, Purge, to accompany Sara Zarr's Sweethearts. I'm a huge fan of Sara Zarr, both as a writer and as a person. As someone who is passionate about the subject of body image, her blog post on being unwillingly Photoshopped by a photographer is a must read.

Like Jenna in Sweethearts, Janie [the protagonist in Purge] has a complicated relationship with food, and there is a strong emotional component to her eating - when she is bingeing she is eating without enjoyment, but rather to fill what she calls "the black hole" inside.

My mom was taking her old pictures out of albums and scanning them onto the computer and she sent me this picture of myself on a Caribbean holiday when I was 14.

Looking at it as a woman with two kids in my mid-forties, my first thought was: "Wow, I had a nice figure!" But it only took a second for the voice of the girl in the picture to start up in my head - the one that told me she was fat and ugly. I started thinking about how throughout my life how much time and energy has been wasted obsessing about food and body image and feeling bad about myself - and, ultimately, being bulimic for six years as an adult - and I wanted to write a story that might help others avoid making that same mistake.

I'm so excited and grateful to be in such great company. I know E. Lockhart from our NYC Teen Author Drinks Nights and adored The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and now have a great list of other books on my always growing "must read" list.

Thank you, readergirlz and postergirlz!

~ Sarah Darer Littman

Purge is one of the additional titles recommended in the June issue of readergirlz. Here's the summary from the jacket flap of Purge:

Janie Ryman hates throwing up. So why does she binge eat and then stick her fingers down her throat several times a day? That's what the doctors and psychiatrists at Golden Slopes hope to help her discover. But first Janie must survive everyday conflicts between the Barfers and the Starvers, attempts by the head psychiatrist to fish painful memories out of her emotional waters, and shifting friendships and alliances among the kids in the ward.


Little Willow said...

For your stories and your strength, I salute you, Sarah! :)

Melissa Walker said...

Sarah, I love that you shared these thoughts and that photo of gorgeous you! Reflecting back on that is a complicated thing, but I'm glad that you can embrace your young self's beauty now, even if you couldn't then.

Sarah Darer Littman said...

Melissa, there are scores of photos I can look back on punctuating so many periods of my life where I felt badly about my self and my looks, yet now when I look at the pictures I look perfectly lovely. It frustrates me that I wasted so much time and energy hating myself. But at least these days I'm putting that time and energy to much better use :-)

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