Review – The Skinny One

This is a Twine story told from the point of view of a college-age woman with an eating disorder. I would recommend reading the ABOUT before playing because it adds some helpful context. First, that this is not autobiographical, but rather came out of an academic project with the intent of realistically portraying the experience of having an ED. The author also provides the sort of trigger warnings you would expect for a work on this subject as well as links to reference material.

While the author cannot speak from personal experience, I think that is something of a strength. She is clearly familiar with the condition, but is not defensive and can provide choices in the story that will clearly take Claire, the main character, in a self-destructive direction.

[Some spoilers follow beyond this point]

This story weaves in enough of Claire’s family background to understand why she is so driven and focused on self-discipline and also desperate for social affirmation. The story does not focus on some behaviors that typically show up in television movies, such as self-induced emesis or laxative abuse, but rather stresses Claire’s internal thought processes.

There is a tendency to focus in stories like this on the disorder and to forget that it takes place on the background of everyday life. The author does a good job occasionally putting other things in the foreground: college life and in particularly, Claire’s volunteer job at a dog shelter.

I found the ending a little abrupt — maybe that’s specific to the path I took through the story. In one paragraph, she’s in the library throwing a scone in the trash, and in the next, she’s on the road to recovery. The story had mentioned in passing her visiting the university counseling services, but I felt like maybe I had missed a page of text.

Evaluation

Story: 7

Voice: 9

Play: 7

Polish: 9. I did hit one error that complained about an if/then conditional issue. It’s too bad that there isn’t a “release mode” for Twine, where error messages are suppressed. In this case, I don’t think it affected the game, and if I hadn’t seen the error message, I wouldn’t have been any the wiser.

Technical: 7

JNSQ: 0

Preliminary Score: 7.8

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