Review of The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

3 out of 5 stars

Thank you so much to St. Martins Press and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I was hoping to feel an attachment to this story as I myself suffered from anorexia as a teenager.  I luckily was able to overcome it without professional help so I could not relate with the character having to seek treatment at a facility.

This book is about Anna who has succeeded at her dream of becoming a ballerina but it doesn’t come without costs.  As she doesn’t have the perfect ballerina physique and body type and with her married lover Philippe scrutinizing everything she puts into her mouth, Anna finds herself eating less and dancing more.  After Anna collapses during rehearsal and suffers a knee injury, she figures that her husband Matthias’ new job opportunity in middle America is just what she needs.  With her knee completely healed and able to dance again, Anna begins applying to dance companies but unfortunately can’t find a job.  With her husband at work all the time Anna begins to lose interest in everything, including the desire to eat.  Eventually Anna ends up weighing 88 pounds and she realizes she needs help so she checks into 17 Swann Street, a rehab and treatment center.  There she meets six other women being treated and must decide if she wants to get better and how to fix herself.

The main reason I gave this book 3 stars is because of the lack of direction in this book.  I was constantly confused with the dialogue and who was actually speaking.  Another thing is there are italicized passages thrown in throughout the story that talk about Anna and Matthias’ relationship in the past but I had no clue it was past tense for awhile.  It could be because I have an uncorrected edition of the book but I was so dang confused.  I wish that the dialogue had been more clear and that somehow the author gave a heads up that there is past tense thrown in with the present tense.


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