“Girl In Need of a Tourniquet” Book Review

November 22nd, 10   •   Posted by Mistress Kay   •   No Comment
Girl In Need of a Tourniquet Book Review

Cover of "Girl In Need of a Tourniquet"

“Girl In Need of a Tourniquet” is a Memoir of a Borderline Personality written by Merri Lisa Johnson and published by Seal Press. The book is a softcover book, and what originally attracted me was the unique-looking cover on the front. The book is 245 pages long, but the words are oddly spaced out, and this book only reads like it’s about 140 pages of length from a “regular” book view. The book is work appropriate since it doesn’t deal with much sexual content.

So why am I reviewing it here? Seal Press is a book company that has books written by women and for women. A lot of their content has to do with sexuality as well as feminism. This book has a bit to do with sexuality as well although it isn’t a prominent feature. Aside from that, I’m reviewing it because I really wanted to read it. When I was younger, I was told by the school conseler that I showed signs of being Borderline, and while I think I’ve “grown” out of it, I was a bit curious about what the life was like for someone who hadn’t.

This novel is written in a lyrical style. Instead of just being regular text describing her experience, Merri chose to use a lyrical style that borders a bit on a type of poetry of prose. Some of the fonts are changed mid-sentence, some of the sentences are cut off early, some of the stronger emotions are bolded, and there is lots of different spacing for the text. (I imagine this must be a nightmare for an editor.) For example, sometimes the text starts to the left or sometimes it’s indented a couple inches. Sometimes the text is right aligned instead of left aligned. While this format seems like it might be annoying, you will get used to it very quickly, and upon first paging through the book, that style makes the book look very interesting.

Another interesting aspects of the book is that the author chose to include quite a few different quotations right inside the book. (Enough of them that the bibliography at the end of the book was about 12 pages long.) These quotations are always right-aligned, oddly-spaced, and in a different font than the rest of the text. It’s possible to read the book without paying any attention to the quotes, but they are interesting enough. The quotations that the author included vary widely. Some of the quotes are from research studies about Borderline Personality Disorder while others are just from songs or something she felt explained her feelings at the time.

The book basically is a memoir of the author’s time having Borderline Personality Disorder. It starts off with a bit about her childhood then explains about her time in a relationship with another woman and then we get about ten pages of an epilogue after she’s “stable”. I was a bit disappointed with the outline of this. I feel like I expected quite a bit more about the disorder, but I didn’t get it. The book was mostly spent describing this woman’s on-again, off-again relationship with her lesbian lover. Which was fine in itself, but it seemed to become the main focus of the book when I would have loved to know more about how therapy went or how this affected her job or other aspects of her life aside from just the relationship. From what I read about the relationship though, it definitely seemed turmoiled.

I can’t say that this book hooked me in either. It was easy to read, and it wasn’t a bad read, but I wouldn’t say this is something I had a hard time putting down. The story was just too all over the place for me to really be able to sit down and suck myself into the story. Granted, that’s the nature of Borderline Personality Disorder, but at the same time, I wish the book would have been a bit better organized. I know it’s written that way to express the way that the emotions/thoughts really went, but it just made it a bit harder to follow than I expected.

I’m split as to how I feel about this book. I feel like it was lacking in organization a bit (or at least flushing out the issue of how she coped with her disorder to more than just the relationship), but it is extremely honest. The author doesn’t really attempt to make herself look better just for the reader which is really appreciated. I can’t say that it pulled much on my emotions except at times when I realized some of my behavior from hers. I just really wish we had seen more of her full life with the disorder as well as more of how she received treatment instead of just cutting from “unstable” to “stable” with a chapter change. However, if you have Borderline Personality Disorder or know someone who does, I’m sure you’d get a good insight into the disorder by reading this book. Thanks to Seal Press for sending me a copy, and you can look up information about Girl In Need of a Tourniquet or purchase the book on Amazon. (There is also a Kindle edition instead of just a print one.)




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