[Note: Not only am I an author, I am also an avid reader. It is my hope to offer periodic book reviews to give you a glimpse at my bookshelf, and hopefully encourage you to pick up a good book. Most of what I read is from a Christian worldview, although I do read some secular books from time to time.]
By Ginny L. Yttrup
Published 2013 by B&H Publishing Group
This book was recommended to me by a very dear friend and I am SO GLAD she told me about this book! I chose it as a selection for my Ladies Book Club and just finished reading it this morning. I almost could not put this book down! I wanted to stay up all night and read until I was finished, but realized the folly of doing that! 🙂 (So I finished in two days instead of one. LOL)
Invisible is the story of three women: Ellyn, a chef and café owner; Sabina, a psychologist; and Twila, a young woman working in a health food store.
The book is set in the coastal town of Mendocino, California. Each woman is dealing with a deep personal struggle. Ellyn is overweight and hates herself for it. When a local doctor shows interest in her, she hides behind her size to push the doctor away. Sabina is struggling with deep depression and guilt and has come to Mendocino to “heal” but really she’s hiding from God and from life. And then there is Twila, a 26-year-old who has been so starved for her father’s affection and attention that she has nearly starved herself to death with anorexia.
Invisible is very different in that it is written in first person from the point of view of the four main characters – Ellyn, Sabina, Twila, and Miles (the doctor). Some people are put off by first person novels, but when done right, I enjoy them, and Ms. Yttrup certainly does it right! Her writing is fantastic. I felt a deep empathy and connection with each of the main women characters. I laughed, and I cried – to me the testament of a good book!
I could relate to all three women characters, especially with Twila. Having struggled myself with anorexia, I felt a real connection to her and totally understood her desire to become invisible, to just disappear. But I also understood Ellyn, too. I could relate to her guilt and shame when she comforted herself with a croissant or butter cake; how she hated herself for her lack of control; how she promised herself that tomorrow she would do better. (I think most women can relate to this, no matter their weight or size.) Having struggled periodically with depression, I also felt an affinity with Sabina, who just wanted to go to sleep and forget.
Invisible takes you on each woman’s journey – not of “self-discovery” but of God discovery. Each chapter is precluded by a quote from St. Augustine, quotes that will move you deep in your spirit. Each woman must learn that she is divinely created in God’s image, and loved by that Creator. That she has value not for how much she weighs or for what she has accomplished, but because God loves her and declares she is lovely and worthy. This novel also shows how the pain and dysfunction of others can shape us and influence us in a very unhealthy manner.
This is not a self-help book. It is not a “how to” guide to overcoming bad eating choices. It’s not about health or nutrition or getting enough exercise. No, this novel is a glimpse into the struggles many women face, and shows that the only true answer to those struggles is knowing who we are in God’s eyes and heart.
I really enjoyed Invisible and look forward to reading more by Ginny L. Yttrup. I would highly recommend this book!