A teenager’s desperate attempt to stay alive and her path to recovery.
You say it’s up to me to do the talking. You lean forward, place a box of tissues in front of me and your black leather chair groans, like a living thing. Like the cow it used to be before somebody killed it and turned it into a chair in a shrink’s office in a loony bin.
Fifteen-year old Callie is so withdrawn that she’s not speaking to anyone —including her therapist at the “residential treatment facility” where her parents and doctor send her after discovering that she cuts herself. Her story unfolds primarily through dramatic monologues, gradually revealing the family turmoil that led to her self-destructive behavior. Her little brother, Sam, is ill —he nearly died in her care. Since Sam’s illness, Callie’s mother has become so worried and fragile, she rarely leaves the house; she sees danger everywhere. Her father has responded to the psychological and financial stress of Sam’s illness by disappearing into his work, and when that doesn’t work, into his drinking. None of this is clear at first, though, especially not to Callie. Only after a cutting incident that scares her, does Callie begin talking —to her therapist and the other girls at Sea Pines.
Cut alternates between scenes of life inside the institution with its strange rules and characters and a series of exchanges between Callie and her therapist in which she addresses the therapist only as “you.” Callie’s efforts to understand herself and her family illuminate her process of recovery honestly and with hope. Cut provides an insightful look at the psychology of cutting —a form of self-abuse an estimated 2 million teenage girls inflict on themselves.
- Ages: 14 - 17
- Grades: 9 - 12
- Pages: 176