Cut by Patricia McCormick (Scholastic, 2000, 168pp.)
Callie is sent to a treatment facility after her parents discover that she’s been cutting herself. After a while, she finally opens up to her psychiatrist and begins to re-examine the fragile home environment that prompted her distress. Although not as powerful as others of its kind in the “teen issues/bibliotherapy” genre, the message that Cut provides is a heartwarming one: we all have the power to change our situation, if we only are willing to take the initiative. Despite the novel’s short length, McCormick provides a solid picture of life at the facility and lets us get to know its inhabitants. The one problem-character that stands out, however, is the character of Amanda. A cutter like Callie herself, she is so unrepentant of her cutting compulsion that she seems to have been planted by the author as the persona of temptation. She often tries to draw Callie into discussions of different ways to cut oneself, and she even goes so far as to proudly display her scars to the other patients (she has the words “life sucks” carved into her arms). Sound edgy? It’s a little uncomfortable to read at times, but compared to other works, shouldn’t be too intense for younger teens. Recommended for Ages 15-Up.
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