Young Adult - Coming of Age
288 Pages
Reviewed on 04/18/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Thin by Ann K. Morris is a coming-of-age story of a teenager who suffered from body image issues and how she overcame them with a little bit of love, understanding, and courage. Erin Post was obsessed with looking thin. On the surface, she was like any other 17-year-old high school student, but in reality, she was anything but that. Erin suffered from anorexia, an eating disorder. Depressed and out of touch with reality most of the time, she believed that starving herself would make her lose weight quicker. However, when her mother had enough of it, she told Erin her only choice was to see a psychiatrist. Unable to make that decision yet, Erin ran away from home believing she knew best. Meeting two homeless girls on the streets of Chicago made Erin realize that life was not about looking thin or eating. It was a lot more than that. Erin learned the lesson the hard way.

Complex yet emotive, the lyrical narrative of Thin by Ann K. Morris was unique as well as entertaining. Erin was a troubled teen who was not ready to accept she had a problem. Of course, her mother knew and wanted to help. That was the turning point for Erin. Like most teenagers, she ran away instead of facing her problems. Ari and Lin were her guardian angels. They showed how life was more than just fitting an image and how every little thing was enough to be thankful for your life. The narrative focused on how important it was to have a support system and people who would fight for you (or you will fight for). I felt a connection with Lin. I loved how Erin was pushed to her limits a lot more than a doctor would and how Ari was the voice of reason for her. The author did a wonderful job of creating a narrative that was unique and very easy to digest. Erin’s journey was not perfect, but it was the start she needed to take a step in the right direction. Many people will find inspiration or courage in this novel! Emotional, captivating, and entertaining at the same time.

Grant Leishman

Thin by Ann K. Morris focuses on the social and peer pressure experienced by young people, especially young women, to meet a certain body shape criteria and the resulting psychological trauma and eating disorders that can develop from these obsessions. Erin is a typical seventeen-year-old in most respects. She struggles a little in school and is extremely conscious of what she perceives her friends and family think of her. For some years now, Erin has convinced herself that she is too fat and any social anxieties she feels are exacerbated by, if not directly the result of her excess weight. In reality, she is, if anything, seriously underweight and feeling the physical effects of not eating enough for her age, with dizzy spells and fainting. When her mum organizes an appointment with the psychiatrist to discuss what seems to be a serious eating disorder, Erin snaps and packs her bags, running away to Chicago and a life on the streets. When she meets up with two homeless teens, Lin and Ari, she slowly realizes the life she has back in her hometown is not actually that bad, where she has absolutely everything provided for her and her new friends have next to nothing. Will this realization be enough to pull Erin back from the brink of potential death and will she begin to face up to the real issues that are the cause of her eating disorder?

Thin explores and opens up an area of great relevance to many young people, not just eating disorders per se, but the whole question of self-esteem and peer-induced self-loathing. Author Ann K. Morris is to be commended for confronting this issue head-on through this absolutely normal, in most ways, character of Erin. The narrative is clearly written with the young adult reader in mind, with short, pithy, almost breathless clauses that make up the story arc, especially appealing to the younger psyche. I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Erin, Lin and Ari. These two characters, although homeless and penniless, had not lost their basic morality, their humanity, and their common sense and were able to pass these onto Erin in a way that she could understand and accept, something she clearly wasn’t able to receive from her mother, who although doting on Erin, struggled to see her perspective on life and growing up, looking at everything from an adult perspective. The struggles Erin faces are very real to her and, as a reader, one feels the need to suspend one’s own automatic judgement of the situation and place oneself in the character’s shoes. An author that is able to gain this insight from a reader has totally achieved her objective. I can highly recommend this read, especially for young teenagers as they face these very perils themselves in the coming years.

Stacie Haas

Thin, a young adult novel by Ann K. Morris, is an absorbing journey into the mind of a 17-year-old girl obsessed with being thin. A junior in high school, Erin’s mind never strays from her mission to be thin, a state that is isolating her from everything that should matter—friends, school, and eating to stay alive. After an embarrassing moment at a pool party with friends and an ill-timed diagnosis from her family physician, Erin flees to Chicago to avoid treatment. There she meets Lin and Ari, two homeless teens who live in their car, hidden behind some trees and brush in an abandoned parking lot. When Erin compares her circumstances with those of her new friends—teens, who in spite of their situation still manage to find joy—Erin makes a choice to help them by helping herself.

I was as obsessed with Ann K. Morris’ book as her main character was with being thin. Written in a poetic style, the pace is refreshingly fast and fascinating. Thin provides incredible insight into the mind of someone who suffers from depression and an eating disorder and shows how the mind can separate from reality completely. Told from the first-person point-of-view, the book speaks in Erin’s voice and so the reader delves deep into her psyche as it is read. I also enjoyed the realism of complicated family dynamics and relatable teen relationships with friends. It is a quick, enjoyable, and enticing read, and one that stays with you. Recommended for young adults.