By Breanna Fischer
Published by Coteau Books
Breanna Fischer’s book Small Displays of Chaos is about a girl from Saskatoon who develops an eating disorder during her last two years of high school. The main character, Rayanne Timko, assigns herself a fitness goal as part of a Grade 10 gym class project. She likes this because tracking calories appeals to her. In the beginning, her goal is “eat healthier, exercise more.” She earns the highest score for the assignment, but when it is over, she doesn’t want to stop. As her obsession turns into addiction, she becomes her eating disorder. Without it, she doesn’t know who she is.
Fischer has a talent for suspense, flashbacks and foreshadowing that keep the reader intrigued. The story has well-placed areas of relief. For contrast, Rayanne has a crush on a boy, which provides some common threads that serve to make the story more palatable, universalizing the characters. In addition to this, she volunteers at a dog shelter, where, in a beautifully written scene, Rayanne finds connection with a dog who is terrified of noise, and denies itself food and comfort.
Though the book is marketed for a young adult readership, the insights into the characters’ minds could also be helpful for the guardians of those who suffer from eating disorders. It is stated in Breanna Fischer’s biography that the book is based on her own experience. It is brave and courageous to admit that, and it only strengthens the experience for the reader.
In my opinion, people who have not had such experience in their own lifetime could not possibly write so convincingly on the subject.
This book is available at your local bookstore or from www.skbooks.com.