Dear Ibi Kaslik;
I was born into a very ... versatile family. My grandfather was an agricultural minister. He got to meet presidents and other ministers of other countries and he had a wide influence. Then, he had my mother. She traveled to Russia and studied nine years there to be a doctor. Then, my dad is a science whiz and my sister has top marks. "Skinny" is almost a parody of my life.
From a very young age, I figured out that my father was able to connect to my sister more than me. They just got on better. They talked about the same things. Their minds worked alike. In this way, I felt just like Giselle. I tried to figure out where we had gone wrong and tried to fix it. I wanted so badly to be looked at the same way my sister was. I mean, I knew my father loved me dearly, unlike Thomas. But to him, I was always going to be a little girl. And as time wore on, I accepted this and went along.
When I ran my first race on the high school track at the tender age of eight, I was immediately captured. The thrill of my aching legs flying underneath me was hair-raising. The pain of my burning lungs encouraged me. The coarse track made me run harder. Like Holly, it became my utter passion and obsession until I completely blew out my leg. Then, I was told I had asthma, so I took a break and lost all fervor for running. I remember when I blew out my quad that I was exactly like Holly when she messed up on the track. When I read that passage, my heart throbbed for her. I wanted to reach for her and tell her it was okay. I knew that when I'd had my accident, I crumpled up into a ball, wanting terribly to go back in time. I didn't want to talk; I wanted to wallow in self-pity. I needed to feel like I hadn't just given away the race, but I did.
The fact that they're immigrants made me want to keep reading even more! My mother and father talk in the same broken English as their parents. People don't understand how it's different when you come here at a young age. In a way, it's harder. It's harder because you're expected to uphold two cultures. They have to leave together peacefully, with no friction. Believe me, that is one of the hardest things about being an immigrant.
I read "Skinny" in two days, and the whole time, I realized that my life would be messed up. I am never going to be like my sister. My family will never fully adjust to this culture. I can't make someone love me. In spite of all of that, I can always lean on my family to support me. So I thank you for writing this book that has opened my eyes and made me more aware of my life.
With the Most Respect,