Faerie by Eisha Marjara | Rating: ★★★★☆
"Why did I feel that way? Why was I half living? I was teetering over a dangerous chasm, between life and death, between those two universes, and I didn't want to belong to either. But at some point, I would fall one way or the other."
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
Faerie, penned by Eisha Marjara, is not afraid to discuss frankly the struggles of an eating disorder and the effects it has on the victim. Many novels have touched base on this topic–it’s such an important story to tell–but not many have managed to do so as honestly as Faerie. That being said, my first warning is of the triggering variety: Eisha does not shy away from the honesty of it all and it does get graphic.
Other triggers include suicide and the like. You must remember before picking up the story that it takes place at a hospital and is not an easy one to sit through. If you have an issue with this, if you think even for a moment that it has the potential to be triggering I ask you not to pick this one up.
Our narrator is a young girl by the name of Lila. Lila’s weight problems started from a very young age and the older she became, the more it nagged her and the more control she desired over nature. Faerie’s main focus is on her life and the road that landed her in care. At only eighteen years old, Lila has drifted into a sea of misery and struggle and was near death due to it.
She, like most who find themselves in the clutches of anorexia, would rather die than put on weight. Lila is obsessive and very, very ill. Her struggles is all too real for so many people and the light that Eisha shines on it is painfully explicit and raw. This isn’t a bad thing. But it’s certainly a very emotional read and will perhaps be something one must put down from time to time.
There are a lot of things I need to note. Specifically, the blurb and length of Faerie. I feel as though the summary makes the novel seem like something it is not and I need to stress that Lila’s story is much more complex and focused on other things than what we’d have expected. I also thought that, yes, the novel was wonderful but it was also flawed and frustrating. We had so much to go off of and there was a lot of potential, a lot of shining moments, but it fell flat from time to time.
Firstly, I felt it was too short. There was so much emotion packed into one tiny novel but so often I found myself wondering if I missed something or skimmed over another topic. Lila had the potential to be a really intimate character for us as readers yet sometimes I felt like I hardly knew her.
Another thing I wasn’t all that fond of was the way her treatment was handled. And lastly, I didn’t find myself all that fond of the last chapter and epilogue. It was very, very rushed–from the point of her wake up call in the form of a failed suicide pact to her life after being released–and it just didn’t feel right.
Overall, Faerie was thoughtful and crafted honestly. It touches the heart when it comes down to eating disorders, the way ones mind works during it, and the road to recovery. This is bound to be a very important release this year–from the fact that we see a POC lead and the honesty of mental health, I think we’ve got a real winner on our hands in spite of its flaws.