Cynthia Ayala ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Opal, Ruth, Setsu and Francesca are four girls thrown together in their college dorms at Brown University. With very little in common, these girls and their individual experiences not only help each other discover the truth in their souls, but help them ascertain the strength they need to face their darkest fears and break through the barriers they put up at such a young age.
This novel is truly captivating in its pure and honest way of allowing women to see their lies and hardships. Each hardship, from the overbearing mother to the attention seeker, shows women sacrificing who they are for acceptance. There’s something to be said when an author can give life and connection into such complex and sad characters, and it’s brilliant.
The Appetites of Girls, written by Pamela Moses, is another contemporary novel in the world of literary fiction that stands out as it allows readers to read about every girl in a pivotal moment in their lives. Published June 26, 2014 by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, this novel reaches out to the reader and grabs them by the heart, plunging them into this novel.
As a character-driven novel, readers are able to see and understand each event that hinders the girls, the events that sapped away their strength and turned them into the women they were in college, with their walls. It’s a beautifully honest novel that develops these characters while making the reader feel and cringe and root for the characters as they seek their strength. An incredible and thought provoking novel can relate to the reader and open their eyes to the world around them. Delving into the pressures and expectations that family and friends can put on a person gives the novel an insightful aspect. These are four characters who have been broken, who have been shattered and emotionally bullied by the deprivation of love and the deprivation of acceptance. Each of them tries to seek solace through the novel, to fill the voids that others left emotionless, and seek out the control that has been stripped from them. That makes this an incredible novel because it shows readers what events can lead people to develop eating disorders, and it’s understanding and acceptance of the past, true control, and confidence allow one’s character to solidify and grow.
Moving away from the captivating characterizations in the novel, the writing, in and of itself, is amazing. There is such a beauty in Moses’ style of writing that builds the world around these girls. Her word choice and detail to scene specifics build up the characters and highlight their fears and personalities, as well as the events and psyche of what hinders these characters.
There is no simple way of saying how truly brilliant this novel is because it captures the foundation of the soul and the insecurities that society and people build. Each girl is in a self-made prison by the events of the past, and it’s when these girls open up, that they find strength in one another and discover their true selves. In no way do these girls have an easy path. That’s the beauty of the novel, because through their struggle, they find their strength. The book doesn’t sugar coat it; it’s brutally honest as it shows one’s struggle with identity, acceptance, and bodily images.