Resource Links Review - Small Displays of Chaos

Reviewed by: Myra Junyk

Seventeen-year-old Rayanne Timco [sic] is in her senior year in high school. "Rayanne's goal in high school was similar to a criminal's in a heist: get in, get out, and be seen by no one." (p. 1) However, now her parents have forced her to see the school guidance counsellor to address her eating disorder. Even though she loves food such as homemade potato and onion perogies, Rayanne is fanatical about controlling her eating. In Grade 10 Phys Ed, she began counting her calories and food intake as part of an assignment; and now, this habit has become an obsession whose name is Edie. 

Despite a supportive family and a vibrant Ukrainian community, Rayanne feels isolated by the imaginary Edie who continually urges her to lose more weight. Edie is hyper-critical of everything that Rayanne does. Rayanne hates her, but follows her instructions to reach ridiculously low weight goals such as 90 pounds. Her twin sister Carina encourages her to talk about her health issues, but is unsuccessful. Her former boyfriend Josh tries to reconnect with her as well. However, Rayanne's life has been hijacked by imaginary Edie. She slowly descends into anorexia. Will she survive?

Rayanne is a dynamic character who deals with incredibly difficult circumstances. She is continually bombarded with the instructions of her imaginary "friend" Edie who harasses her about her weight and her food choices. This obsession has taken over entire life. She no longer feels part of her family or her community. However, Rayanne does seek help from a trained eating disorder therapist, and eventually learns to deal with her compulsive behaviours. 

Readers who have dealt with eating disorders, or who want to know more about them will definitely enjoy this novel. It presents a realistic picture of how a healthy young girl becomes obsessed with her eating habits. The solutions to her problems are not quick or easy. These issues are important to examine in a world fixated on body image where waif-like models serve as media role models for young women. 

Thematic Links: Anorexia; Obsession; Exercising; Family Relationships; Addiction

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