It’s not obvious from the title of The Obvious Game by Rita Arens that there are deep and intense issues discussed within. In a small town in the Midwest, lives our heroine, Diana, a girl who has a tough situation at home. Diana’s mother has cancer and in this small town, everyone knows everyone else’s business, which means that well meaning townspeople ask after Diana’s mother because they care. The problem with this behavior is that Diana can’t get any rest or privacy. She needs a place where she can get a break from the stress of a sick mother at home.
Diana, for some unknown reason, thinks that she is chubby and decides to lose weight. So this is how she processes stress. Her dysmorphic view of her body causes her to stop eating, exercise too much and hide her problem. Diana is suffering from anorexia.
What’s important about this story is that Diana seemingly has everything going for her: she has a boyfriend, she’s friends with the popular girl (even though this girl is annoying) and leads a fairly normal life outside of her home. There should be no reason why she starves herself to death, right?
Wrong. I love that our author brings this disease to light. Mental illnesses can strike anyone in any socio- economic background. I’m amazed that in this day and age we still have kids who are afraid to discuss such taboo topics and are therefore not getting help. Diana cannot help the way she thinks. There’s something going on in her brain that makes her see herself differently than others see her or themselves. As she tells a doctor when she finally gets treatment: the rules are different for me.
I hope that others will read this important book and be on the look out for teens (boys and girls) in their lives who seem to be too thin or have strange eating habits and encourage them to get help. I used to be a teen who had an eating problem. I needed to control things in my life and not eating was the only thing that I could control. It’s a difficult cycle to break. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder you can go to National Eating Disorders Association’s website for resources. The also have a helpline to call: (800) 931-2237.
Please get help. You can beat this. I did it. You can too.