Review: Saving Ruth
Saving Ruth by Zoe Fishman
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
From the cover:
When Ruth returns home to the South for the summer after her freshman year at college, a near tragedy pushes her to uncover family truths and take a good look at the woman she wants to become.
Growing up in Alabama, all Ruth Wasserman wanted was to be a blond Baptist cheerleader. But as a curly-haired Jew with a rampant sweet tooth and a smart mouth, this was an impossible dream. Not helping the situation was her older brother, David—a soccer star whose good looks, smarts, and popularity reigned at school and at home. College provided an escape route and Ruth took it.
Now home for the summer, she’s back lifeguarding and coaching alongside David, and although the job is the same, nothing else is. She’s a prisoner of her low self-esteem and unhealthy relationship with food, David is closed off and distant in a way he’s never been before, and their parents are struggling with the reality of an empty nest. When a near drowning happens on their watch, a storm of repercussions forces Ruth and David to confront long-ignored truths about their town, their family, and themselves.
I always love running across books about college students. I feel like there aren’t a lot of books out there written from a college student’s perspective and that’s why I was so eager to read Saving Ruth by Zoe Fishman. When I first picked up this book, I thought it would be a relatively light coming of age story and a perfect summer/ beach read. I was definitely a little surprised by how many different issues were tackled in this book.
Our protagonist is Ruth, who just finished her first year of college in Michigan and has returned home to Alabama for the summer. She’s suffering from an eating disorder that she won’t admit to despite the concerns of those around her. Meanwhile, her brother is also home for the summer and is dealing with his own problems as he pulls away from his former friends and family.
I thought the way she handled Ruth’s eating disorder was superb .I’m sure every girl has been there where they think they’re fat and despite other people telling them how great they look; when they look in the mirror they can only see themselves as fat. I’ve never had an eating disorder myself, so it was interesting to see the issue from Ruth’s point of view and what cause her to have an eating disorder. She portrayed it in such a realistic way that I could see how girls fall into the trap and develop an eating disorder.
While I did enjoy the book, I felt like Fishman tried to raise too many issues in such a small book. The book covered everything from eating disorders to racism to depression. On one hand I understand that she wanted the readers to see what college students and their families go through during those first few years away from home, but on the other hand I felt like the book would have been better had she focused on just a few issues. My biggest issue with the book is the way everything ended. I felt like everything was resolved too neatly and the ending came a little quick.
Despite the few issues I had, Saving Ruth by Zoe Fishman was still an enjoyable and fast read. It was a good book to pass the time and an insightful book about eating disorders.