Longer than a tweet

Big Question responses from the 9th graders

I am going to feature some writing and thinking from our freshmen. First up, Mariah C, asking us "How far is too far?" in conjunction with her book, Skinny, by Donna Coover.

How far is too far?

“Even in the shower, fully awake, I keep trying to figure out what exactly I’ve lost and where it could be. The dream tickles at my mind like that mosquito bit I get in the summer that’s right in the middle of my back and no matter how hard I try, just can’t quite touch it. It’s so perfectly out of reach that I can’t stop thinking about it.” (195) In this single quotation, Ever is finally realizing that she has let things go too far with her weight loss and leaving those who she loves. 

Skinny by Donna Cooner is about Ever Davies going through a life-changing experience as a high schooler. Ever’s mother died when she was just a child, so Ever has gone through some hard times in life. Once her mother died, Ever started gaining a lot of weight. Now that she is a high schooler, she is weighing about 300 pounds. Not only are people staring at her, she has a little “spirit” that sits on her shoulder that whispers in her ear what people are thinking about her too. Through it all though, she has a couple of friends that are supporting her. Then one day Ever makes a life changing decision: she is going to have gastric-bypass surgery. 

Ever does the surgery towards the end of the school year, so that way she has all summer to rest up and focus on losing weight. Through the preparation of the surgery and after the surgery, she has one friend that is sticking by her side the whole time: Rat. Rat is like Ever’s at-home nurse making sure that Ever is eating the right things and gets Ever started on a workout plan. Ever gets going on the right path and loses 68 pounds before school starts. Ever losing that weight is really great, but when she goes back to school, she gets started off on the wrong path. Ever’s dad is remarried, so Ever has a stepsister that is also in high school. 

Briella, Ever’s stepsister, hangs out with one of the popular girls of the school, Whitney. Whitney starts to hang out with Ever, and they become best buddies. That also means trouble that Ever is leaving behind those who she loves. Ever becomes so caught up in the popularity around the school that she kind of forgets about Rat, the one who was there during everything. The school dance is coming up, and Ever gets asked by her longtime crush Jackson. They go to the dance together only for everything to fall apart. Jackson ends up being forced by Whitney to ask Ever. It also ends up that Whitney was acting to be best buddies with Ever so she could practice her fashion skill. And just one night at the school dance, Ever realized that she had left those that she loves and had taken things too far. 

The little “spirit” that used to sit on Ever’s shoulder turned out to be just a voice that was inside Ever’s head. Those were all thoughts that Ever thought that she was hearing, but in reality she was thinking all of those thoughts. When Ever finds out the Skinny isn’t a real person, she then realizes that Skinny has taken over too many opportunities for many good things in her life, and maybe people loved her before and she just didn’t realize it. Ever then faces one of the hardest challenges of her life: she auditions for the school play. 

“I’ve been selfish and… blind,” I say quietly. What a hypocrite. I felt like nothing, but I made everything about me. I looked at the world around me through Skinny’s unseeing white, opaque eyes. Including Briella. “I didn’t see what you were going through. You were here in the same house, and I didn’t even know.” (232) After talking with Briella the night of the dance, Ever realizes that she is being selfish. She is not seeing what others are needing and only wanting the attention on her. When she takes a step back while talking to Briella that night, she realizes that she had taken things a little too far and that she now needs the most important people in her life to come back to her. She left those that she loved dearly, and desperately needs them back in this time of need. 

I am sure that this question comes up many times in your life. I know that in my life, this question has come up a lot. Looking at the people that mean the most to me, I can also tell that they are always asking themselves if someone went too far. I can say that I have probably taken things too far in life. For example, I was really mad at my friend. I was immature at the time, and went and spread rumors about her because I was mad. None of those actions should have been made. If I would have been mature at the time, I would have kept my problem with her to myself and not made lies up about her. That is what I would call too far. She didn’t deserve to be lied about, and me to be telling everyone that lie that I made up when none of it was true. I am also guilty of saying that someone went too far, when I don’t even know their story. 

We are constantly judging society thinking that they went too far with something. Thinking they went too far with the plastic surgery, too far with the tanning, too far with the exercising, but in reality, did they really go too far? This is a hard question to answer since everyone has different opinions of too far. For me, going too far would be exercising to look like that one girl that is a 00 and weighs 100 pounds at 20 years old. Now, I know some people that is just how they are built, but if you aren’t meant to be 100 pounds at 20 years old, then you just won’t be 100 pounds. That is what life is like. I wonder when as a society we will stop asking ourselves if that person went too far. You only saw them on the street, you don’t know why they look like they do. 

In the book Skinny by Donna Conner, I think that Ever has gone too far. I know that she wants to lose weight, but once she lost that weight, her whole personality changed. She soon left the ones who loved her the most through the hard times, and went after the people who used to bully her during the hard times. I would say that is a little too far. Leaving the ones who love you most for the people who used to hurt you on a day-to-day basis. Now I know that people change, but the bullies only became nice to her because of the way she looked. If she wouldn’t have changed at all, they would have continued to be bullies. That is where I think Ever took it a little too far by letting those who hurt her now love on her and leaving those who loved her during the tough times. “Don’t say you’re sorry. Say I’m dreaming. Say I’m crazy. Tell me how I can change things.” I realize I’m shouting. I take a deep, shaky breath, and my voice drops to a whisper. “How can I change me.. any more?” (217)

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