Tuesday, March 24, 2009
McCormick, P. (2000). Cut. New York: Push.
While ya gotta respect McCormick for repeatedly exploring some of the toughest issues for young adult girls out there, I feel like Cut doesn’t focus on cutting enough to warrant it making the title. Sure the narrator is put in a facility because she is a cutter, but her group mates who are there for an assortment of reasons interested me just as much, when I could keep straight who each one was. (Students may need to chart each character and track their characteristics. For reals, it’s so easy to get these girls confused!)
McCormick does a wonderful job of constructing Callie’s character, although I did expect her to have experienced more trauma than what was described in the book.
In this short book, there is a small commentary about the perception of cutter’s by most people and the medical community. McCormick confronts that general assumptions and misunderstandings by presenting multiple people and a second girl who cuts herself for different reasons.
Despite my extensive consideration of cutting here, the majority of the book is more focused on the aspects of life that are haunting Callie and her journey to deciding to get better.
My favorite part is that the entire book is written in second-person direct addresses to the reader, as though he or she is the psychiatrist working with Callie.
Activities to do with the book:
This book is good for starting discussions on issues of cutting, bulimia, anorexia, insanity, drug addiction, familial pressures, ways of dealing with problems, dealing with stress over a sick relative, expressions of emotions, etc.
Also, the ending is fairly ambiguous, so students could write letters to the characters asking how they are doing or they could write their own continuations.
Students could also write a letter as Callie’s psychiatrist as a response to the book. Or they could construct the character of “you” based on the few clues present in the text.
“You say it’s up to me to do the talking” (p. 1).
“The people at Sick Minds were still trying to figure out what to do with me” (p. 11).
“There’s a lot of crying here at night. Since there are no doors on any of the rooms, the crying—or moaning, or sobbing—floats out into the hallway. Sometimes I lie in bed imagining a river of sobs flowing by, leaving little puddles of misery on each threshold” (p. 27).