Just days before her eighteenth birthday, Lila has resolved to end her life. The horror of becoming an adult, and leaving her childhood behind, has broken her heart.
Faerie, a novel for young people, is the fierce yet gently unfolding story of a hyper- imaginative girl who is on a collision course to womanhood. She likens herself to a half-human fairy creature who does not belong in the earthly world; but in the cold light of day she is a psychiatric patient at a hospital, where she is being treated for anorexia―her sickness driven by the irrational need to undo nature and thwart the passage of time.
Lila tells the story of how she ended up on the Four East wing: we flashback to her childhood in the ’80s, growing up in a small town as an overweight brown kid to Punjabi immigrant parents: her father, a literary scholar whom she idolizes, and her mother, a housewife―”the most female of all females who found comfort in cooking.” Faerie weaves these passages with Lila’s downward spiral into life-threatening illness, her budding sexuality, and her complicated recovery in hospital that comes with a price. Written with candour and heartbreaking lyricism, Faerie is a plaintive love letter to the bold, flawed splendour that is childhood.
My mother saw herself in me, but I wanted to hold up a very different mirror. I was going to slim myself into my wings and take a leap of faith into the faerie world where I spent every waking daydream. The circumstances were ripe, summer was on its way, and no time like yesterday to start something new. Or shall I say, to recover something old.