written by Gail Sidonie Sobat
Great Plains Publishing, 2008
978-1-89428-378-6 (pb) $14.95
for Grades 9 and up
On the eve of yet another hospitalization for anorexia, Anise wonders if there is a point to her life. Lacking support from a cold and distant mother and a hapless father (referred to as Loathed and Witless) she looks to her brother for support, but his addiction to crystal meth has him too badly screwed up to be of use. To find relief she cuts herself, and writes in her journal, recording her feelings and observations about her family and those around her, and most importantly, where she decides whether to choose life or death.
Whether given to a teen with an eating disorder, or read for personal interest, this highly compelling novel will grab the attention of readers from the first page. Anise is intelligent, but conflicted. She loathes the idea of being hospitalized again, but is at the same time grateful for the escape that it offers her from her family.
The story alternates between the narrative and Anise's journal, and it is the journal that is most powerful. Written in a variety of forms ranging from poetry to lists, the entries are heartbreaking, brutally honest, and a glimpse into this character's soul. Behind those words is a girl who desperately wants love and support, but doesn't get it from the sources she most needs it from. Where she does ultimately find that support, and the complexity of that relationship, adds another dimension to this already powerful story.
In what could have been another depressing teen issue book, Gravity Journal ends on a positive note. Neither promising, nor providing a tidy happy ending, the final pages leave the reader feeling that there is a possibility that everything could be alright, and that there is hope for the future.