Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN 10: 0312263937
ISBN 13: 978-0312263935
Caroline Kettlewell's autobiography reveals a girl whose feelings of pain and alienation led her to seek relief in physically hurting herself, from age twelve into her twenties. Skin Game employs clear language and candid reflection to grant general readers as well as students an uncensored profile of a complex and unsettling disorder. "[This] mesmeric memoir examines the obsession with cutting that is believed to afflict somewhere around two million Americans, nearly all of them female," Francine Prose noted in Elle. "[Kettlewell's] language soars and its intensity deepens whenever she is recalling the lost joys and the thrilling sensation of sharp steel against her tender skin."
“Superbly articulated . . . on par with Autobiography of a Face or Girl, Interrupted.” ―The Washington Post Book World
“Told with unflinching honesty . . . A sobering, deeply perceptive look at a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly discussed, one all the more troubling for its secret, solitary perpetration.” ―Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A surprisingly warm and lyrical evocation of an incredibly complex struggle for survival.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
“Kettlewell has a well-developed sense of humor and irony . . . A gifted writer.” ―Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Skillful and engaging . . . Like a good novel, leaves the reader wanting to know more.” ―Chicago Tribune
From the Author
In Skin Game, author Caroline Kettlewell writes about her history as a "cutter," one of what is estimated to be, in the U.S. alone, as many as two to three million self-injurers-people who deliberately cut, burn, or otherwise injure themselves for the relief of overwhelming psychological distress.
"People ask me why, after keeping my history of self-injury a secret for so long, I chose to reveal it in such a very public way," says Caroline Kettlewell, about her memoir of self-injury, Skin Game.
"There isn't one specific answer to that question. In part, I wanted to write the book because I believed that my own experience would provide me a means of exploring certain questions or themes that interest me as a writer. Questions about identity, about how you define your 'self,' how you become that person you call your self, about whether you can even ever say who is the true self, given that we all play different roles in different contexts. Also, I am interested in the way that even those closest to us have secret, inner lives we know nothing about. What do we reveal, what do we conceal, and how do those choices about revealing and concealing shape our lives?
"I also wanted to write the book because there is a great deal of misunderstanding about self-injury, about what it is and what it isn't. I wanted readers to understand that even apparently 'normal' people might be self-injurers-that it could be your sister, your best friend, and your child. I wanted to try to dispel some myths and misconceptions: that self-injury constitutes a suicidal gesture; that self-injurers are by definition severely emotionally disturbed; that they are necessarily the product of terrible, abusive environments; that they are, by the verdict of too many in the counseling/therapeutic community, 'incurable.'
"When the book first came out, I was terribly apprehensive about what the response would be among friends, co-workers, family-none of whom had known about my history of self-injury. I was surprised and relieved to find that people responded very positively. Many have told me that the emotional struggles I write about resonated deeply with their own experiences. Beyond the specifics of my particular circumstances, Skin Game is really a coming-of-age story, and in that context I think it covers often painfully familiar ground for many readers."