Square Fish, 2017
Trigger warnings: mental health issues
About the Author: Stephanie Elliot found the inspiration for Sad Perfect in her own daughter’s journey with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). She has written for many magazines and websites and is a book reviewer, and an editor. She lives in Scottsdale, AZ.
“And while the monster’s quiet now, you know he’s there still, gnawing. Maybe he’s sitting in the corner of your mind, rocking in a tiny chair, whittling away at you, like you’re a piece of wood he’s been carving at, trying to create something new, something that he wants to own. Yet somehow you’re fighting it. Because if you’re not fighting it, he would have won by now, right?“
Sad Perfect follows sixteen-year-old Pea, who has always known there was something different about her, but it isn’t until she gets diagnosed with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) that she truly begins to manage her mental health.
Therapy, her family, and her new boyfriend, Ben, all do their part to help Pea overcome the “monster” that lives inside her head. After much difficulty and pitfalls, she begins to see her way to recovery.
Written in second-person, we meet Pea in her most vulnerable state, unable to eat many foods and unable to process why she can’t. When she meets Ben, things start looking up and she finally begins to feel like a normal, happy sixteen-year-old. When things go awry, it is up to her to be strong and embrace the situation for a better future. The second person point of view offered a closer connection between narrator and reader. Seeing the world through Pea’s eyes is what made this novel so heartbreaking and sad, but truly elegant and eye-opening.
PRR Editor, Nora Gaarder