Sample Book Review Paper on Shark girl-Kelly Bingham

The loss of a loved one or something an individual is closely attached to causes grief. The
book Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham narrates, in a poetic way, Jane’s recovering process from the
distress of loss of an arm which was amputated after a shark attack. Through the support and
encouragement from her family members, healthcare givers, and friends, Jane recovered and
adapted to living without one arm. Every grief process has stages which starts from shock and
denial, pain and guilt, manifestation of anger, depression and loneliness, upward turn,
reconstruction and acceptance.
Shock and denial is the immediate and initial stage of grief. After Jane comes out of a
coma, she cannot believe she lost her hand. She always aspired to be an artist, and after losing
her arm, she cannot accept that she might experience shattered dreams. Her denial statement is
evident when she asks, “Why did this happen? Why me?” (Bingham 8). The questions she asks
to show her shock after losing her arm and is in constant denial.
Jane undergoes much pain and guilt during her hospitalization. She feels guilty that she
has missed school sessions due to her ill health. During a monologue, she asks herself, “Who’s
covering for you at school?”, in the statement, she is portrayed to have the guilt of skipping her
school sessions (Bingham 8). Her mother also notices her pain and asks the therapist when her
pain shall stop (Bingham 15). Jane also expresses pain after her therapist tried to convince her
that she had to accept the loss and cope. She cries and describes her tears as loud and awful.

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Anger is evident in Jane’s grieving process. Her spreading news angers Jane. The nurse
convinces her not to watch again and forget about the day (Bingham 7). Out of rage, she rejects
the gifts from friends and relatives, citing unnecessary attention. Anger causes her to view and
regard the teddy bears brought to her as ‘Pity bears’ and regards the smell of the gift of flowers
as suffocating. Her mother tried to convince her that people gave the gifts out of goodwill, but
Jane showed no interest in the offerings by saying, “But I don’t want this, any of it” (Bingham
20). Despite Jane’s attitude, her mother was always supportive.
Jane could not accept that her arm was amputated, which caused her depression and
loneliness. She felt that she did not want to be associated with her friends. After receiving calls
from her friends, she rejected them. Jane’s mother picked up the calls and advised the friends to
wait a few more days (Bingham 9). Her loneliness made her feel that she needed a private life
away from people, and after the journalist broadcasted her story and video on media, she was
agitated about it.
After the initial stages of grieving, Jane shows signs of recovery through an upward turn.
She began to adjust her life and was contented that she had to live without one arm. Her upward
turn is shown after her aunt called her and asked her how she was doing. With contentment, Jane
said she was okay. It was her aunt who reminded her that she was not all right yet (Bingham 10).
Another instance that shown her upward turn towards recovery from grief was after she prepared
and cooked dinner. She said to Mabel happily, “I cooked dinner. Can you believe it?” and added
that it would be easier. The activity shows that she had become adopted to one arm and accepted
she had lost the other.
As she engaged in more activities, Jane reconstructed herself from grief and successfully
worked through the grief. As time passed, she interacted happily with friends, and in one

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instance, she said, “I mean, what can I say that is so inspirational? It’s because of doctors I
survived. Now I just. I don’t know. I just go on.” (Bingham 197). Her progress inspired her that
cooking her first meal after recovery was optimistic, and she could do it even more quickly
during her next cooking instance. The different occasions showed that Jane was walking through
the grief successfully.
Jane gradually accepted living with one hand and gained hope for a better future. Her
acceptance is shown when she gladly does some duties in her mother’s house, like washing the
dishes. In her letter to Mary, Jane tries to show her victory over grief by accepting her loss of the
part of her one arm. She explains to Mary how she had gained a new arm and held a funeral to
bury her amputated arm. She had dealt with her past through a mock funeral she performed by
looking at the old picture in the album (Bingham 275). The letter shows that Jane had accepted
her new form and was willing to live in that condition.
As illustrated in the book, grief has seven stages. The seven stages of grief include; shock
and denial, pain and guilt, manifestation of anger, depression and loneliness, upward turn,
reconstruction and acceptance. The stages are common for every case of grief.

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Works Cited
Bingham, Kelly. Shark girl. Candlewick Press, (2011): 7-275