Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cardboard: Review and Giveaway

"From the Safety of not eating I finally began to hear the double echoes, to scratch at the polite surfaces of words. I knew nothing deeper than what was visible. Or if I could see it I was unable to use any words to describe it."
~Cardboard, Fiona Place

First published in Australia in 1989, Cardboard: A Woman Left for Dead by Fiona Place is the story of Lucy, a young woman who has been suffering from anorexia nervosa for about eight years. Told by Lucy, Cardboard presents her inner world, an intimate a portrait of a woman with an eating disorder who's undergoing treatments that include hospitalization, drugs, and psychotherapy.

In conjunction with her eating disorder, Lucy suffers from anxiety and fears, concerning her future and employment (that dreadful, ever present 'e'). Having grown up in family that did not outwardly demonstrate affection, she craves physical closeness and a love relationship but is afraid of men, fearful of getting too close to or trusting someone. Lucy knows what she wants and needs but is not yet able to articulate her needs. And that seems to be at the heart of the matter.

"I knew there was more to life than the expression You are what you eat but I felt compelled to take it to its literal extreme."
~Cardboard, Fiona Place

The author believes that this eating disorder is closely related to an inability to understand subtexts of language, or to take things too literally. She believes that anorexia nervosa may really be a ‘communication disorder’, and that trained therapists can help patients decode the ‘subtexts’ of language and conversation.

Developed during the 1970's and 1980's by Australian Michael White and New Zealander David Epston, narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy using narrative. The basic premise of this form of treatment is that a patient will benefit by telling his or her own narrative, under the guidance of a psychotherapist. This is what happens in Cardboard. Under Tim's care, Lucy begins her narrative. But she takes this one step further. Lucy incorporates poetry into her narrative, which adds another dimension to it.

"flattered
she had been
imagined real

hurt, knowing
she couldn't
be real"
~Cardboard, Fiona Place

By using poetry, a less "literal" language than prose, Lucy starts to allow more ambiguity in her interpretation of language, in her life. In fact, she is the very creator of this ambiguity! Slowly but certainly, through the actual process of writing the prose and poetry, Lucy starts to help herself, and to better comprehend language, with it's subtleties and subtexts.

"Writing didn't have to come up with a practical solution to anything, only an understanding, and as I penned, the words seemed to appear before my eyes, from somewhere unknown. An unknown that I hadn't explored."
~Cardboard, Fiona Place

To be honest, I wasn't sure how I'd be affected by a book about a young woman who is suffering from anorexia nervosa. I thought I might find it depressing or unpleasant. Fortunately, this book is a triumphant story of recovery and success. While Lucy does receive treatment and help from Dr. E. and Tim, it is through her very narrative, told in prose and poetry, that she is able to take control and responsibility for herself in many areas of life, and eventually recover from her eating disorder. Cardboard is a brilliant fictionalized account that illustrates the restorative powers of narrative psychotherapy. It's a unique combination of prose and poetry that shows the integration of logical, literal "left brain" language with creative, intuitive "right brain" language. Lucy writes herself into well-being.

Exciting news! To celebrate the recent release of Cardboard in North America, the author generously sent me a copy to review, and two additional copies to give away. This giveaway is open worldwide.
  • To enter the giveaway for this book, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower, or that you subscribe in Google Reader.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
Enter by 5 PM PDT on Thursday, June 10. Two winners will be selected randomly and announced on Friday, June 11. Good luck!

Please return on May 20 for an interview with Fiona Place. For another review of this book visit The Reading Life. Cardboard counts toward the Aussie Author Challenge and the Women Unbound Reading Challenge.

29 comments:

  1. This sounds really fascinating, though I'd also be a little bit nervous reading about anorexia. I've known some people who suffered from it and it might hit too close to home, if that makes sense.

    No need to enter me in the contest! I'm in one of those moods where I just want to get rid of books instead of acquire! Odd, no?

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  2. What an interesting sounding book. I've never heard of narrative therapy, but it sounds like it works.

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  3. This book sounds awesome. I don't think I will ever understand this eating disorder, but the author certainly has given it a new twist!

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  4. Sounds like a very good book. Please enter me.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  5. I follow your blog.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  6. Great review-I also read the book real recently and great enjoyed its insightful treatment of the effects and causes of eating disorders-

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  7. Yours is the first review I have read on this book --fantastic job Susan. I have the book, but I was not sure how I would like it since I do not know anyone with an eating disorder.

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  8. This sounds really good Suko, fantastic review. Glad to hear its a story of survival and success. I'm looking forward to the interview.
    http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

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  9. This sounds like an interesting book.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  10. current blog follower via GFC
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  11. This is a subject that I do find concerning. I have twin girls who about to enter their teenage years and I already have them telling me they look fat, when really they are both underweight. They eat a lot at the moment and I do monitor them to make sure they do eat, but they never really gain weight, so I am worried how they will be during their teenage years where there is so much pressure.

    I would love to be entered for this competition. You have made me need this book rather than want with your excellent review.

    vivienne_dacost(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  12. Wow! This really sounds like a unique and interesting book! I have not read much about anorexia, though I know there are some YA books out there that deal with the subject. It sounds like this is a more triumphant story than most, and I would be eager to see what I think of it. Please do enter me in your giveaway, and thanks for hosting it!! You wrote a really beautiful review as well, Suko!

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  13. What a great giveaway! After your review I'm really interested in reading this book! Sounds amazing.

    naomemandeflores@gmail.com

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  14. No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book.

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  15. I've heard good things about this one, and I've long been interested in books about anorexia, as a friend of mine suffered from it in high school

    I'm a follower, and I added the giveaway to my sidebar.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric
    diaryofaneccentric at hotmail dot com

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  16. Please count me in. Thanks.

    avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

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  17. Sounds like a great read! I'd love to enter
    nataliew2(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. I'm a follower :0)
    Nataliew2(at)gmail(dot)com

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  19. It sounds like an amazing book!

    smiling.sun.doll (at) gmail (dot) com

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  20. Oh, and I'm a GFC follower. :)


    smiling.sun.doll (at) gmail (dot) com

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  21. please count me in....thanks :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  22. This is an interesting topic. I have a close relative who suffers from this and I like to be able to read stories that there is success when dealing with diesease.

    kerrie@mayansfamily.com

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  23. This sounds like a wonderful read and I love and write poetry as well so this book is on my radar screen.

    I found your review to be intriguing and one that I think I would take pleasure in reading.

    Thank you so much for hosting this giveaway.

    steven(dot)capell(at)gmail(dot)com

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. I'm looking forward to reading this book. I love everything that Fiona writes, particularly her essays on intelectual disability, so I'm quite intrigued.
    noeliamendoza@gmail.com

    Oh, I'm following!

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  26. I really want to read this book and my local library doesn't have a copy!! I want to win :D
    fuzzy_peaches96@hotmail.com

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  27. The story sounds intriguing and I would appreciate if you could count me in.

    Thank you for hosting.

    mystica123athotmaildotcom

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  28. Add my name to the drawing, too, please!

    reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

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  29. Please enter me for this giveaway.

    archanaskorner(at)gmail(dot)com

    Thanks
    Arch

    ReplyDelete

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