Tag Archives: Yara Zgheib

WWW Wednesday, 25-March-2020

25 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’ve almost come to a stop with White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I’m working from home for the foreseeable future so reading during lunch isn’t happening the way it normally does. I’ll keep renewing this one and hoping I get through a few pages from time to time, but I think I’ll remain at 5% for quite a while.
I haven’t made much progress with The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz because I’m not driving a lot. And when I am, my husband is with me. We’ll see how long this one takes, but the plus side is that I don’t have to return it to the library until they open again and that could be a while.
I picked up a new eaudiobook, The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This should be a really short one, it’s less than five hours. With how much I’m running to avoid stress, I think it should be done by next week.
I finally picked up Cuando era puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago. I’ve been reading more, which is nice. This one might be a bit slow because reading in Spanish slows me down. But it’s YA, so maybe that will help me get through it in an OK time.

Recently finished: I got through The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib quicker than I thought. I’ve been doing some longer workouts to deal with stress and I got my bike software going again, which means long stretches of listening. I expect to be reviewing this next week.
I flew through Fingersmith by Sarah Waters as well. This had more slow parts to it than I would have liked and it started dragging, which was unfortunate. Luckily, increased reading time helped me power through so I was able to wrap it up. Again, look for a review next week.

Two books reviewed, too! I posted a review of Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) last week. I was surprised so many people were unaware Galbraith was a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling but I’m glad I was able to highlight the amazing series, especially with the fifth book recently announced. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.
I reviewed August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones on Monday. This one wasn’t much of a win for me so I’m almost glad the book club meeting for it was canceled. I gave it Two out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: My Buddy Reader and I recently picked our next book so I’ll be starting in on The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern as soon as we find a time to meet up and I can pass her a copy. We’re dividing this one up into 5 sections and we’ll have to wait until we can meet after work again, but I’m still looking forward to it.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib (4/5)

24 Mar

I forget why I added this to my TBR originally, it’s not a subject I’ve read about before. It was probably recommended on some list that I trusted and added it. It only sat for a year because I’m moving through my list a lot faster lately.

Cover Image via Goodreads

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

Summary from Goodreads:

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting, intimate journey of a young woman’s struggle to reclaim her life. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.

This book disturbed me at times and I think that’s a credit to how well it was written. I felt like I really got into Anna’s head and could understand her struggles with anorexia. It was at times hard to relate to because I’ve never experienced anorexia, but at other times, I could understand it really well. I struggled with body image at points in my life and never revered to the levels that Anna did, but I could see traces of my fears and coping in what she and her housemates experienced. It was painful because it was so real.

The characters felt very real. Having Anna in a treatment facility made it possible to explore different degrees and types of eating disorders. It was interesting to see the differences between Anna and Julia and how they reacted to food and how they felt about their disorders. The conversation the two had in Julia’s room was really enlightening. I appreciated that the focus was really on Anna and Matthias. Having him so involved helped emphasize the impact of Anna’s disease on her family. And how she’s the luckiest girl in the world.

Matthias was my favorite character. He was so dedicated to Anna that it almost broke my heart. He was driving over an hour every night just to spend a short amount of time with Anna. And the dedication it must have taken to help her continue her plan after she came home must have been immense. I can’t imagine watching my spouse go through anorexia and feeling like I couldn’t help or fix anything It must have been really frustrating.

I’ve had bouts of poor body image in my life, though never to the extreme that Anna and her housemates did. I could relate to that; always seeing flaws in my body and never feeling good enough no matter how much weight I lost. It’s a loss of control feeling and I understand why Anna went to the extremes she did to feel in control again.

Yara Zgheib
Image via New York Times

Hearing about the internal struggles Anna had when she tried to eat were very real to me and I thought they were wonderfully done. I’ve had times where my brain seems to be fighting itself, battling between logic and some part of it that seems to have a completely different agenda. It struck home with me and I was so happy when she was able to overcome that voice. It was a great way to show her fight.

I did feel like Anna’s fight was maybe a little too easy. She sees girls come and leave the house while she’s there, but she’s the only one to leave for a positive reason. She sees these girls who have been there for ages, like Emm, but gets out very quickly. I felt it was a bit too accelerated to be believable but at the same time I want to think that treatment could be effective enough to help someone in that short amount of time.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Saskia Maarleveld. I thought she was a wonderful choice for Anna’s story. She had a good accent for a native French speaker and was able to affect a good American accent for the US-born characters. She was able to portray the fear Anna felt very well, too. I could feel the panic and I think it had me running faster when it would get really bad.

Zgheib makes a great point that Anna is the luckiest girl in the world. She has anorexia, but she also has a family that loves her and the access to care that will help her get better. Not everyone with a mental illness is so lucky. People with illnesses need access to care as well as the support and love of those around them. Emm didn’t have that support and Julia was afraid to ask for help and they suffered longer than Anna did. A visit from Sarah’s son was great for her recovery and showed how much we can help our loved ones through hard times. I think this book had a beautiful message about supporting mental illness.

Writer’s Takeaway: This book had a strong message but didn’t preach or speak down to the reader in any way. It was impactful because it was true and raw. Truth tells a stronger message than lectures (thus why Jesus spoke in parables!). Zgheib does a great job of showing us Anna’s story and showing how an eating disorder can hurt an entire family.

This book was true and raw, though it did seem to show the best possible outcome of a situation. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Review: The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib (ARC) | Princess & Pages
Review: The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib | Bookapotomus
REVIEW – The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib | Dee’s Rad Reads and Reviews

WWW Wednesday, 18-March-2020

18 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: As with almost every aspect of our lives, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected my reading. I’m working from home for the foreseeable future so reading White Oleander by Janet Fitch during lunch isn’t happening. I hope to get to it again int he future, but it’s taking a break for now.
I’m back to Fingersmith by Sarah Waters full time and still loving it. I’m getting a lot more reading time in because I’m staying home more so I hope to get through this one in a reasonable time.
I picked up the audiobook for The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz just in time. My local library has closed it’s doors so I’ve got until early April before I have to worry about a due date on this one. Because I’m not driving to and from work, it might take me a while to polish this one off. We’ll see how life has changed.
I started a new audiobook on my phone to keep me entertained on runs. My husband is working from home so I’m not getting a lot of alone time to listen. So it might take me a while to get through The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib. My next planned athletic event is a run (since I had two swim meets and a run canceled already). So I might as well get running a bit more.

Recently finished: Working from home left me with the chance to listen to an audiobook during lunch so I enjoyed Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) and was able to wrap it up. I’m loving this series more and more and I’m so excited for the fifth book to come out later this year! Maybe I won’t take forever to get to it.
I used a slow weekend to wrap up August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones. The book club meeting for this book has been canceled so I won’t get a chance to discuss it with my group but I still wanted to wrap it up. It wasn’t my favorite but I’ll save all those thoughts for my review.

Reading Next: I should get to Cuando era puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago sooner than expected with how fast I’m getting through physical books right now. I’m glad I’ve got a large store of books to keep me sane through the quarantine and craziness. I’m trying to find the silver linings.

As a reminder, I’m out of the country on vacation. I will not be replying to comments this week in order to enjoy my vacation. I’ll check periodically to approve any new poster’s comments. All reading is suspect, this post is planned well in advance.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!