The author of my book is Steven Levenkron. Warner Books published this book in September of 1978 in New York, NY. The genre of my book is fiction with suspense. The Best Little Girl in the World could be based on a true story, but it is not completely true to life. It would fall under the suspense category because the reader does not know if Kessa will live or die. The all-important purposes of this book are to inform and to narrate. The author does a nice job of achieving his purpose. I am now aware of the many dangers of the deadly disease being described. Steven Levenkron has many qualifications. He is a “practising psychotherapist with a speciality in eating disorders” (The Best Little Girl in the World page 2). He has been a “clinical consultant at Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center as well as the Center for the study of Anorexia and Bulimia in New York City” (page 2). He is also a “current member of ANAD of Highland Park, Illinois” (page 2).
This book does have a few weaknesses but more strengths. A weakness would have to be the ending. It is not eventful. I was hoping for a surprise of some sort, and it never came. However, I noted many strengths. The descriptive details seem great. Although the details appear rather gross at points, I think that is a good thing. That way a reader discovers the harsh reality of the disease. “The thinner is the winner” (The Best Little Girl in the World Steven Levenkron page 25). This is a powerful quote because thinness is what the whole story is based upon. Kessa thinks that the thinner she is the better. She is most definitely proved wrong in the end.
I noted three main settings used in this book. The Best Little Girl in the World takes place in the year of 1979. The first one is the Dietrich’s home. Their apartment is located in New York City. The second location is at Francesca’s dancing studio downtown. The third location where the action takes place is in the hospital. Kessa is in the hospital for about three months, and then she is released to live at home.
Four main characters are present in this book. They happen to be Kessa, Lila, Grace and Harold. The two protagonists are Kessa and Grace. Kessa is a short, frail, fifteen-year-old girl. Grace appears to be a middle-aged housewife. Grace is supportive of Kessa even through the tough times. The antagonists are Harold and Lila. Harold is Kessa’s father who has a slight drinking problem. He always yells and is ill-tempered. Lila, Kessa’s roommate in the hospital, is always putting Kessa down for being anorexic. She calls her a “skinny.”
One type of conflict in this particular book is man/woman versus man/woman. This is shown when Kessa is forced to eat by her parents. Another type of conflict is man/woman versus self. This is the biggest conflict throughout the entire story. Kessa continues to battle herself over her weight. Yet another type is man/woman versus nature. This is shown when Kessa’s blood pressure drops to an extremely low rate. Man/woman versus society is the pictures of skinny models that Kessa cuts out demonstrate the effect of society upon young people. Man/woman versus fate, supernatural, and god/goddess is shown because Kessa’s fate is to keep her life.
The writing style of the author is third-person omniscient. This means that the author can crawl into the character’s minds. I enjoy this style because the reader is able to know what all of the characters are thinking.
I enjoyed this book, so I would definitely recommend it to others. It shows the harsh reality of anorexia nervosa. After reading this book, an individual will realize that this is a serious matter, which should not be taken lightly.
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