THIN SKIN by Emma Forrest

THIN SKIN

KIRKUS REVIEW

A second from the British 25-year-old Forrest (Namedroppper, 2000).

Ruby, a budding child artist, takes after both her artist parents while lusting for Liev, also an artist. At dinner she bolts two glasses of champagne and later that night tells Liev, “Baby, I want to phuck you.” She’s 12, he’s 25. Liev, an eastern European who’s shared a lover with Ruby’s father and whom Ruby calls the Vampire, leaves, and until she’s 20 Ruby sleeps around, bed after bed, looking for Liev in other men while not really wanting sex with them. She drives one named Scott to leave his wife and still she has little interest in sex even with him. “Am I going to die?” she asks, never having bedded Liev. Her once beautiful mother dies, overweight, after years of her husband’s endless philandering. Ruby abandons her father and leaves home on her 16th birthday. Her life hurts. She’s a skin too thin. She’s also bulimic, reads life messages in toilet puke, and cuts her arms, leaving white scars, has her wrists tattooed. This infuriates her Hollywood agent, who tells her she’ll never get the Merchant-Ivory costume pic call she wants. She’s the worst client he’s ever had and he fires her. She’s stuffed with insecurities. In New York, she stays at the Chelsea Hotel rather than experience the sadness of her own apartment. Frankly, despite movie fame, it’s a dreadful life, and rather dreadful to read about as well, since few characters other than Ruby have any weight on the page and all we get are symptoms of her bottomless narcissism. Her germ-phobic buddy Aslan won’t let her kiss him. She buys clothes she’ll never wear, leaves them scattered about in their wrappers. Percoset, Quaaludes. Where’s she heading? Guess. Yes, to the big chill, with aspirins. Will she survive? Do we care?

Accurate? Maybe. But these ruby slippers go nowhere.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7434-6481-8
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: MTV/Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2002




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