My Thoughts On… The Year I Didn’t Eat by Samuel Pollen
Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Year I Didn’t Eat and I am here today with a review of this brilliant book!
**A copy of this book was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review**
Author: Samuel Pollen
Published: 1st March 2019
Source:: Review Copy from Publisher
Add It: Amazon UK Goodreads.
Summary: “Some days are normal. Some days, everything is OK, and I eat three square meals, pretty much, even if those squares are ridiculously small squares.
Some days, I can almost pretend there’s nothing wrong.”
Max is 14, and anorexic. His eating disorder has pretty much taken over his whole life.
His brother, Robin, gives him a geocache for Christmas. Max hides it in the forest near his house. Before long, he gets a note from ‘E’. But who is E? Is it Evie, the new girl at school, playing a trick on him?
In the midst of a family crisis, Max’s eating disorder quickly deteriorates. Anorexia pulls him further and further away from his family and friends, until he feels totally alone. Can anyone help him find a way out?
*TRIGGER WARNING* As the title and summary suggests, this book is about a boy who has anorexia, thus it may be triggering for some. There is also a fair amount of calorie counting too.
It’s taken me a while to write this review after finishing the book because I’ve been struggling to put my thoughts into words. This is because the book is such an incredible and powerful read that I want to make sure that I do the book justice. As someone who knew someone with anorexia when she was a teenager, I can guarantee that this book would have helped me to understand her a lot more. Furthermore, as someone with mental health issues, including ones that surround food – it is interesting to see how it can affect people in different ways. Samuel Pollen has done a fantastic job of portraying this mental health illness in a sensitive, strong and relatable way. It is very easy to feel empathy for others struggling while reading this book. It is the kind of book that we need more of and so I am incredibly glad that it now exists.
The Year I Didn’t Eat follows Max as he struggles with anorexia. At the start, he believes that he has a handle on the disease and is doing everything to keep “Ana” at bay – including writing her letters. What happens over the following year is an intense, heart-wrenching journey for Max and his family. He takes a lot of problems on to his shoulders and I wanted to help him throughout. I absolutely loved how this book eventually ended and loved how he has such strong friendships. It is clear that he is very loved and while he definitely isn’t out of danger, he definitely ends the book with a fantastic support network, which is wonderful to read.
Aside from feeling very empathetic towards Max and consistently wanting to do anything I could to help him, I also really liked his brother Robin. Robin is so understanding and really tries to make Max feel loved and supported which I truly loved seeing in this. I also enjoyed how Max got along with his friends, Ram, Stu and Evie. I also really liked “E”. I thought they were really understanding and supportive and I just think they were just what Max needed.
I don’t want to say too much more in case I spoil it so I am going to end here by saying that I very much enjoyed this book. It was heart-breaking in places but also full of hope and happiness in others. I connected with the characters a lot and feel like I understand Anorexia a little more because of this book. Samuel Pollen has created a very moving, powerful novel that I would highly recommend. I hope that it will become a truly valued book by teenagers who know people who are struggling or who feel that they themselves are struggling as well. So if you’re looking for an important but enjoyable read – definitely make sure you give this book a read.
About the Author
My first book, The Year I Didn’t Eat, is about Max: a 14-year-old boy who has anorexia. It’s out spring 2019, and you can preorder in the US and UK now.
I’m also Head of Writing for Digital at Reed Words, an award-winning writing agency. I use words to make products and services better for everyone.