In this semi-autobiographical work, J.J. Johnson tells
readers about her own experiences of being hospitalized for an eating disorder.
She battles alcoholism, anorexia, bulimia, and more, but beyond that, Jennifer
must also convince her own parents that she is in fact sick.
Jennifer enjoys watching Star Trek, dancing at the Y,
drawing and painting, and going to the movies, yet she is plagued by a constant
need to please others and to look “thin.” Jennifer’s story is a challenging
one, but it provides relatable concepts for adolescent girls who have ever
dealt with body issues or low self esteem. At one of her low points in the
hospital, Jennifer hopes to one day become a grown, healthy woman who can look
back on her current circumstances and help make sense of them. She realizes
then that despite her challenges, Jennifer must learn to hope, and above all, she
must learn to believe.
The format of the book itself echoes Jennifer’s constant
battles. The pages begin in blank verse with short, choppy sentences that
reflect Jennifer’s conflicting thoughts. The text itself is also a shadow of
the black text typically found in books; thus reflecting Jennifer’s own
feelings of emptiness. However, as her story progresses, blank verse melts into
prose and the text on each page darkens to its normal color. Jennifer is
regaining control over her mind and of her body; therefore, the book does too.