Shrink is the story of sixteen year old Eloise Meehan and the difficulties she faces as a teenager with an eating disorder. The story takes place just as she is preparing to sit her GCSE exams. Eloise lives with her dad and although their relationship is a loving one trauma in the family’s past has put a massive strain on their relationship. As her father tries to rebuild his own life Eloise increasingly feels his actions are at the expense of her own wellbeing and has nowhere left to turn.
Eloise has caring friends but is unable to speak about the terrible events of her past even to those she feels closest too. As her eating disorder becomes more and more the focus of her life she realises she must seek support and begins therapy.
Eloise is a believable, likable character whose difficulties in facing her past are mirrored in her narration of the story as she takes the reader on a journey of revelation. Her illness and treatment are handled in a sensitive, yet candid and often surprising way as she negotiates the real life intricacies of NHS psychiatric treatment. The way in which Morrall conveys this keeps interest high and adds to the emotional pull of the story and the reader’s empathy with Eloise.
Shrink shows that difficulties happen to ‘normal’ families and solutions to problems are often not as straightforward as we might hope. Shrink is written in an adult style which compliments its subject matter and engages the reader throughout.
Review by Charlie Morris