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After a tragedy comes misery

Book Review: "Shark Girl"

Book Review: "Shark Girl"

November 27, 2007|By EVA NIESSNER / Pulse Contributor

Jane Arrowood was certain that she was going to be an artist. Then a shark bit off her right arm.

Kelly Bingham's novel, "Shark Girl," is the story of what happens next.

Jane must deal with the frustrations of excessive pity, gawking stares, and of course, functioning with only one arm. Suddenly, cooking, dressing and grocery shopping are major tasks, and Jane is overwhelmed by everything she's been through. Desperate to draw again, Jane has to learn to put aside her fury at the world and realize that growing stronger from amputation isn't just the stupid garbage everyone is obligated to tell her.

Told in newspaper clippings, letters, phone calls, conversations and trains of thought, the book is more like living the experience than reading about it. The story moved me a lot, even as I understood how enraging it would be to be an object of perpetual pity.

"Shark Girl," though rough around the edges, is a soft, sad, and hopeful tale of a girl living in a way she never thought she could.

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