Cut by Patricia McCormick

by Kat Alexander

Callie doesn’t talk. She used to cut herself, but she can’t here at Sick Minds (a.k.a. Sea Pines, a “residential treatment facility” a.k.a. loony bin). They can’t make her speak, though. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the other people here, just that they’re crazy and she’s not. Right? She’s not crazy.
You know Callie isn’t crazy, don’t you? You’re her therapist. If you don’t believe she’s sane, no one will.
Well? Is she crazy or not?

It’s a short book; more of a novella than a novel. Usually ‘short’ is followed by ‘powerful’, but in the case of Cut, it’s really just short. It’s not a blockbuster, but it’s so short it doesn’t really matter, even. It’s so short that even though I can’t really think of very many redeeming factors, there aren’t enough pages for there to be something seriously wrong.

The premise on the surface isn’t particularly creative. Been there, read that, worn holes in the T-shirt. There are plenty of books about mental hospitals, even more about self-mutilating teenagers, so if the plot rings a bell, it’s probably because you’ve read something like it before. The really creative part of the book is the narrative itself–written like a letter from Callie to her therapist. A letter written as it happens, ever-lengthening in present tense.

Callie as a character is perfect. She knows exactly why she’s in the hospital, but not how she got to that point. She’s simple and complex at the same time; knowing more than she realizes but not understanding. But she knows she wants to get better, and that she can be helped.

If you come across Cut, it’s worth the read. It’s not so ground breaking or beautiful that it deserves paying seven bucks plus tax plus shipping…but it’s probably worth the walk to the library.


Kat Alexander is a Figment Reviewer who (clearly) loves to read and comment. She’s active on a number of sites including NaNo, Fiction Press, and FanFiction under aneko24.

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