My Sister's Bones

Cathi Hanauer, Author
Cathi Hanauer, Author Delacorte Press $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-31434-3
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-385-31704-7
Open Ebook - 187 pages - 978-0-307-56985-1
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-21111-7
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A medical case guide couldn't present the pathology of anorexia more clearly than this coming-of-sexuality novel does. But Hanauer goes beyond Judy Blume-style fictionalizing of symptoms: her uncanny ear for dialogue creates a dead-on characterization of driven Jewish intellectual snobbery set against Italian working-class earthiness. To keep their two daughters, Cassie and narrator Billie, from growing up spoiled, Michael and Jane Weinstein have chosen to raise them not in North Berry, N.J., where the women's room in the country club offers hair-straightening irons, but in West Berry, a world of Vinnies and Dominicks where wrestling is more important than SATs. Michael is a type A surgeon. His relentless pressure has pushed Cassie into Best Athlete/Most Likely to Succeed high-school performance--which is quickly followed, during her first semester at Cornell, by a descent into anorexia and its attendant anxieties. Because of Michael's denial and Jane's desire to please, the wonderfully sensitive and assertive Billie is left to do most of the worrying about ""my sister, hyper and bony, wasting away,"" even while she grapples with her own issues of desire and achievement. The struggles over control in Hanauer's neatly executed first novel go straight to the heart. (Apr.)
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