Pulse, 2005 (2002)
Reviewed by Lyn Seippel
ourteen year-old Carmen and her mother Maria are on another new diet. Maria has been on a diet for as long as Carmen can remember. She has more diet books than the city library and likes to think her daughter is dieting along with her. Carmen never loses weight. Sometimes she even gains pounds. What her mother refuses to acknowledge is that Carmen doesn't stick to any diets.
armen's dad, Brian, ignores the diets, calling them
. He worries that Maria will end up back in the hospital if she keeps trying to lose weight. He feeds Carmen regular food whenever he cooks and slips Big Macs and snacks to her when her mother isn't around. When Maria decides to leave Brian, Carmen has no choice but to go along since he isn't her real dad. They move to Birmingham where her mother has a great new job selling expensive clothes. Suddenly Carmen is in a new school, trying to make new friends and struggling to fit in. Maybe her mother is right. Maybe if she could just get thin she'd be beautiful and accepted by her school mates - and her life would be better.
takes a frightening look at eating disorders and how one family member can infect another. Maria thinks all her problems can be solved by being thin, but she is never thin enough. She is sure Carmen's future success depends on her looks and weight. Only thin is beautiful. When Carmen finally joins her mother in this obsessive quest for the perfect body, who is left to save them from themselves?
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