Thoughts on Levenkron's "The Luckiest Little Girl in the World"
(By the way, I'm sorry for the length, but I had to get this out...and it turned out to be quite angering)
So, I shipped 'The Luckiest Little Girl in the World' from USA into my country (cause almost no english books get here) under the impression that it was a good book. found it blah. Stereotype all the way. (Sorry to anyone if you get offended, not my intention
I react more to characters than to storylines, so I kind of saw myself in her. I, too, am a competitor. Professional swimming (and amateur tennis playing, but meh). I didn't quite do it the way she did, but I did end up tearing one of my ligaments during a competition (and I almost drowned as I couldn't freaking swim from the pain). I was..I think I was 13/14 at the time.
Her mother is quite the typical overbearing mother. Mine was never like that, but she was bossy. I was to follow an eating regime, and had to do physical workouts (but I loved them). I never was the muscular kind of athlete, but I had my moments of pride with my calves =)
I hadn't SIed then, but I think all that exercising did become obsessive at some point. There were days I did 4,000 push ups, and ended up exhausted and crying on the floor of my room. I remember once, after I did a particularly long push up session (I think it was 5,000). I went to bed that night as if someone had kicked the crap out of my back, it felt as if I had bruises all over the place. I still can't figure out if it was internal bleeding or something, but I ended up coughing blood. Nothing serious, though, cause nothing happened.
Then comes the moment of the 'person you feel is watching you'. We all kind of have that moment, regardless of what 'our dirty little secret' is(the way the girl called it seemed so...forced...at times. I could see Levenkron thinking about what noun he would use).
No friends. Check. Happens to all of us.
Crazy T/psychologist. Well...there's always the I-love-this-T period, I went through it with my past T. I was forced to see her at first, after a SU attempt, but after some time I came to like her (until she did what she did). I have a dog of my own, so I didn't need her to have one in her office (the T in the book has one).
* Trying out group therapy. That was the 'innovative' part of the book. But still, the patients are very blah. It's not that their problems are not serious, but there's no depth I can see. Yes, there's a SI patient who looks withdrawn, an anorexic patient, and overweight patient who comfort-eats because she takes care of her sisters/brothers, and I don't remember the other ones. I like that they're things I can relate to, but there's not much more to them. It's as if they were walking labels...I ended up thinking that they're just how society sees us...the kid who SIs is withdrawn, the anorexic is anorexic, and there's nothing more. And I know there's so much more behind it, I've seen it here and I've seen it in my own life. I don't get why Levenkron (who is a psychotherapist, EDs and all) wouldn't go in depth. The character of the mother even thinks of the other patients as 'delinquents'...........typical. And, OH YEAH, the girls end up being friends in the end! Because at first they didn't know if they could be friends, but now that everyone knew everything, they're the best of buds! ...................................Come on.........................
* Even Katie (main character) is stereotypical. She is dying from the pressure of figure skating, so she SIs to control her dissociation episodes, and ends up in T. But there's SO MUCH MORE TO IT. People who SI because of pressure have many things going through their minds, people who SI because of dissocation have more. People who have DID, or depersonalization (I myself am one of those) are SO MUCH MORE than just that. Why not go in depth, explore emotions, do something?!?! I found it so disappoiting. Yes, the dissociation episode while Katie is during group T is interesting, but there's no description of what's going through her mind...I know how it feels to dissociate out of shock, some of you do too. It's not just a 'I'm going away', it's much more than that..it's fear, anger, shock, hate...mixed feelings. But there's nothing in the book. There's just the T noticing she is dissociating and standing in front of her and forcing her to look him in the eye...and she just snaps out of it, and she's 'ok' for the rest of the session...
And obviously, there had to be the father who went bananas and left the family. So there's no father figure and Katie sees it in the T. COME ON! I mean, I just wanted ONE character who was not the typical one.
And Levenkron is absolutely adored because of the book! I mean, for anyone who has not gone through any of it, of course it's great. But for us who know what goes through Katie's mind...it's disappointing. Because there's no actual insight...there's just relying on the common things, the things Ts think they know, and it ends up being shallow.
At least it was a cheap book.