________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 19 . . . . May 23, 2003


Dying to be Thin.

Linda A. Carson.
Winnipeg, MB: Scirocco Drama/J. Gordon Shillingford, 1993/2000.
48 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 0-9697361-3-9.

Subject Heading:

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Jocelyn A. Dimm.

*** /4


“ - it seemed like magic. And during that year, every now and again, when I was in danger of gaining weight, I would simply go and throw up.

(As AMANDA continues there is a sense that she is trying to figure all of this out for
the first time.)

But then, the next year, I started doing it not just once every couple of months, but more and more until I was throwing up almost every day! And now? Sometimes I can’t stop for weeks! I eat for hours and then I throw up - and I think I’m OK and that I’ll go back to my normal life - but then I end up eating for hours again so I have to throw up again.”


In this one woman play, Linda Carson writes a haunting real and personal portrayal of a 17 year old girl, Amanda Jones, and her struggle with bulimia. The author’s firsthand experience lends to the believable and strong voice within the narrative.

     Amanda struggles daily with an eating disorder that weaves itself through her thoughts, feelings, and experiences, virtually becoming the center of her world. She hides food in every available space in her bedroom. She spends all of her money on replacing the food she consumes from the cupboards of her family kitchen. She cannot go out with her friends unless she can lose “just ten more pounds.” Amanda shares, “It seems like - this other thing possesses me, out of the blue - and I end up doing it - and this me gets smaller and the smaller until it almost goes away. But it never actually does.”

     The one act play is quite short, and only has one character, Amanda. There are a few places that “date” the piece, such as, “when you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last,” that would probably be better revised if this work were going to be used in a school setting so that students could identify more closely with the character (the play was originally written in 1993).

     Because Carson explains in such vivid detail the actual process of "making yourself throw up successfully," if this play were to be used in a high school, students and teachers, would benefit from a reflective discussion period with counselors and other experts. Otherwise, the play could inadvertently provide instructions for participating in a crippling disease.

Recommended with reservations.

Jocelyn A. Dimm is a sessional instructor and doctoral student at the University of Victoria where she teaches drama education and young adult literature in the Faculty of Education.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.