‘Paperweight’ – Meg Haston



This was a difficult book to get into. It tells the story of seventeen-year-old Stevie who has dealt with her mother’s disappearance and the death of her brother in increasingly self-destructive ways. When the novel begins we learn that Stevie is awaiting the anniversary of her brother’s death as this is the day that she plans to kill herself.

A lot of the details that see us come to understand Stevie are revealed slowly throughout the novel. This meant that, initially, I found the character selfish, obsessive and quite unpleasant at times.

We are witness to Stevie being checked into a treatment clinic where she is receiving support for an eating disorder. It seems an odd thing to notice, but her frustration at being diagnosed bulimic rather than anorexic was a chilling alert to just how mentally fragile she was. This was a quite intriguing insight into someone living in the grips of a mental disorder, though I was taken aback by the level of detail given about some aspects of her experience.

For me, the most interesting parts of the novel were either the developing relationships between the girls in the clinic, or the relayed sessions Stevie has with her therapist where we see her growing self-awareness and willingness to engage with the problems she has tried to escape.