This was a fairly early ARC for me, and I am so, so glad that I was able to read it. It’s touching, emotional, and strong. Here’s my review:
So I know it’s only the 8th day of a new year, but The Girls at 17 Swann Street is my absolute favorite read right now and I imagine it will stay at the top for the entire year. I read it in one sitting, it was impossible to put down.
Let’s start with the writing style. The short lines of text, the deliberate spacing, to me, is so reflective of Anna’s struggle to eat. Slowly, in small bites. It’s beautiful and masterful, and I think it’s just an extra level of depth to give the reader the experience of not just Anna’s struggles, but each of the girls in the house.
For as you see, Anna is suffering from Anorexia, and a lot of the girls in the house either suffer from that or Bulimia, and eating is such an absolute chore, and if you haven’t gone through it, as the author tells us through Emm, talking about Anna’s husband, then you don’t really understand the depths of the struggle.
Each of the characters brought a certain something to the table, Emm with her knowing, her strength. Valerie, in her quietness, her notes. I loved each of them. I appreciated the author’s way of telling the story in the present at the house, and then the past with Anna’s relationship with her husband Matthias, who is a beacon of hope for the girls at the house.
The level of detail in the book is superb, from Anna’s case notes, to the routine, to the small details in the dates with Matthias, it makes for a beautiful and lyrical telling of Anna’s struggle. Multiple times I found myself getting emotional right along with Anna, getting emotional at the little things that were new again to Anna. A superb read!