After the Strawberry is very good: engaging, considered, surprising. Lydia, the book’s young protagonist, has stopped eating and instead perseverates in thinking about the size of her body, small as it is. Kathryn Pope manages to bring the reader into Lydia’s world while also keeping that world private for Lydia, a place the character assiduously created in her struggle to make sense of things. Pope never sentimentalizes Lydia or anorexia; doesn’t over-explain or encroach. Pope lets Lydia, flawed and compelling, speak for herself.
Pope’s writing is perceptive and spare. Elegant. The content can be painful, uncomfortable at times, but there is a lightness to the work, an actual lightness, that lifts the reading. And the writing is excellent, a pleasure. “Lydia watched the backs of the night nurses’s heels as she left the room. Night nurses walked like cats. Lydia watched a hand close the door until there was just a slit of light at the bottom.” Many slits of light in After the Strawberry.
“Digital Readers: An Essay.” Kathryn Pope, TeleRead
“Some people have skeletons in their closet. I have an enormous Barbie in mine.” Galia Slayen, Huffington Post