Skip Navigation

Submitted Literature

Skin Game

By Caroline Kettlewell


Autobiography providing insights into the phenomenon of deliberate self harm, in particular self-mutilation of the skin. Detail is fairly graphic at times and Kettlewell does not shy away from discussing both the act of self-injury itself and the psychological build up and relief gained through self injury.

Key Themes:

  • Autobiography
  • Revealing Reads
  • Self-Injury

Significant Quotes / Pages

27 - "I let the razor's edge kiss the pale skin near my left elbow, and then drew it slowly - so slowly that I could feel through the blade the faintest tug of resistance and the sudden giving way of the flesh - along my arm. There was a very fine, an elegant pain, hardly a pain at all, like the swift and fleeting burn of a drop of hot candle wax. In the razor's wake, the skin melted away, parted to show briefly the milky white subcutaneous layers before a thin, beaded line of rich crimson blood seeped through the inch-long divide. Then the blood welled up and began to distort the pure, stark edges of my delicately wrought wound.

The chaos in my head spun itself into a silk of silence. I had distilled myself to the immediacy of hand, blade, blood, flesh."

Reference: Caroline, Kettlewell. 1999. Skin Game. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999


- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Monday 23rd March 2009