Divorced parents deal with daughter’s anorexia

This week, I selected Sheryl Woods’ “Slice of Heaven.” It is one of her Sweet Magnolia books.

Serenity, South Carolina, is a small, close-knit city where folks know what everyone else is doing. Back in high school ,Helen, Maddie and Dana Sue were known as the Sweet Magnolias, but the three got into plenty of mischief.

When Dana Sue met Ronnie Sullivan, she was determined to win his heart and he was more than willing to give it to her. They married and had a daughter, Annie. Life was good for them until Ronnie’s stupid one-night stand. Dana Sue’s famous temper and wounded ego wouldn’t let Ronnie explain or ask forgiveness. They divorced, and she insisted that he leave Serenity.

In order to survive, Dana Sue opened a restaurant featuring Southern cooking with a special twist. She also hired the best dessert cook she can find. Soon Sullivan’s was a big success. Running the business kept Dana Sue away from home until late each night, leaving Annie alone for hours.

Neither Dana Sue or Ronnie realized how their action would affect their 14-year-old daughter. In the two years Ronnie had been gone, Annie watched her mother gain weight, putting her at risk for the diabetes that killed Annie’s grandmother. In response, Annie begins avoiding food. Before long, she’s dealing with full-blown anorexia.

Dana Sue and Annie’s friends try to get her to eat, but Annie is convinced that she is fat and needs to lose weight. Eventually, Annie suffers a cardiac arrest during a sleepover. Annie’s life is in danger, but Maddie has to convince Dana Sue to call Ronnie.

He’s never stopped loving Dana Sue and he misses Annie very much, so this feels like the sign he needs to return to Serenity and try to win her back. They must work together to convince Annie that she not only needs to eat a healthy diet, but must face her emotional problems as well.

In order to stay close, Ronnie’s former boss helped him open a hardware store and other businesses that revitalize Serenity’s downtown.
With counseling, and the support of family and friends, Annie learned to cope with her illness, but she was still troubled by her mother’s refusal to deal with her poor diet. Annie wants her parents to get back together, but Dana Sue can’t get past Ronnie’s betrayal and uses food to tamp down her conflicted feelings. Once again, it takes the care and support of those who love them to bring the story to a happy ending.

Slice of Heaven
AUTHOR: Sherryl Woods
PUBLISHED: Feb. 24, 2015
PAGES: 396