‘Is there anything that’s concerning you?’ Felicity says. ‘College, home, boyfriends?’ Though she’s more or less smiling at this last one.
I don’t smile. Instead, I feel my face go hot. Silence stretches as wide as an ocean.
When I look up, Felicity has this expression on her face like she’s just seen Elvis. Slowly, she leans forward and in a gentle voice I’ve never heard her use before she says, ‘Have you done a pregnancy test?’
When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time …
Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of Countless to review!
Wow. I just can’t find the words for what this book did to, and for me. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with the main focus being on an eating disorder, so I was interested to see what this book was going to hold. And it captivated me straight away and I couldn’t put it down until the end. Such a touching story that will be able to inform and educate readers on eating disorders (and also teen pregnancies).
Our main character Hedda has been through, and is going through a lot. She has had anorexia for a few years, been in and out of hospitals, experienced the death of a friend, got kicked out of home, and got pregnant at seventeen. This would cause anyone to go off the rails, but I really admired how Hedda went about things. She definitely had her ups and downs along with her mood swings, but when she found out she was pregnant and decided to keep the baby, she was selfless. She told herself she was going to eat during the pregnancy, and it was difficult but she gave birth to a healthy baby. However, the main struggle was after Rose was born. My initial assumption was that the whole book was focusing on the pregnancy, but then she gave birth and I wasn’t even half way through yet! But the story did pick up after the baby was born, and Hedda’s struggles continued.
I’m going to give Robin a quick mention. I loved how the story had little romance in it as it focused on Hedda’s eating disorder, recovery and relationship with both her baby and family. But, I loved Robin. As we do learn closer to the end of the book, he has his own stuff going on as well. Robin cared for Hedda and Rose, he took care of her in an under-baring way, and he is just a down right sweet heart!
Okay, back to the story.
I’ve never had anorexia before, so I comment on the accuracy of the portrayal, but I did read somewhere that this is an Own Voices Novel (don’t quote me on that). However, I can say just how eye opening this book was for me, and how much knowledge I was able to gain from that. It also felt so raw and real as it pulled the emotions out of me… yes… I did cry (I’m hormonal – OKAY?!). The story was just so amazingly touching, and Hedda as a character was just so incredible, and the ending (which I’ll talk about later) was so hopeful and I just… can you tell I loved this book?
Karen Gregory’s writing style was just so beautiful as well. Some of the things she wrote really hit me in the heart and definitely got me thinking. I think that the best thing that a book like this can do is get people thinking and talking about it. I don’t often hear people talking about eating disorders in an educational or understanding way, and I think a lot more can be done to ensure this!
And of course, the ending. The ending just felt so realistic for me, just as the rest of the book was. It didn’t sugar coat things, there was no “and we all lived happily ever after” ending, and just like the rest of Hedda’s story, it wasn’t easy or cute or fluffy. It was real. It was eye opening. But it was also hopeful.
If it isn’t obvious to you already, I freeeeekin’ love this book – 5 stars – everyone should pick this up. Just keep in mind that there is a lot of talk about eating disorders and anorexia, so if you find that triggering just keep that in mind. But if you want to educate yourself on this topic and read more about it, then Countless is a great start!