Paper Weight Gains New Fame
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In honor of “Teen Literature Day”, spend time today reading your favorite books centered around teenagers or try something new and read Paper Weight.
Paper Weight by Meg Haston is a young adult novel that touches on recovery and issues with mental health. Although the book came out in 2015, it has been gaining momentum in the mental health community.
The protagonist of the book is a sixteen-year-old teenager named Stevie who is struggling with an eating disorder. After a considerable amount of time her father decides to send her off to an eating-disorder treatment facility in New Mexico.
Unlike most young adult books that have teenage protagonists, Haston has perfectly portrayed the thought process of a sixteen-year-old. Other novels tend to make their characters more mature than teenagers actually are, but Paper Weight perfects a teenager’s metal state. The author gives Stevie the hot temper that comes with dealing with the problems of her teenage years.
The portrayal of the treatment center that she was staying at might be slightly inaccurate, although treatment centers vary from state to state. In Texas psychiatric hospitals have much less freedom than in the book, making it feel almost as if she’s on vacation rather than getting help for her eating disorder.
Normally, nurses will accompany patients on the site to keep watch over them in case of risky behavior and check beds to make sure that the patient is sleeping where they are supposed to be. In the book patients have leisure time and are able to roam the grounds without the supervision of the staff. Treatment hospitals in downtown Houston requires nurses to keep watch over the patients at all times, even during this relaxation period.
During Stevie’s stay at the center she is able to see her assigned therapist once every day, while in some other centers the patient only has access to their therapist once a week or only when they first arrive.
On the grounds of the treatment center, there are cottages that are shared by other girls who are quick to welcome Stevie, although the feeling is not mutual. Stevie, throughout the book, resists treatment and tries to keep her current figure because this is what she wanted. The other girls try to welcome her by talking and offering themselves as someone to talk to, other than the therapists.
The book is written in a way that is easy to read and understand, as well as entertaining and relatable. The book transitions from current events to flashbacks smoothly.