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BOOK REVIEW: WASTED: A Memoir of Anorexia & Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher

Friday, February 05, 2016


THE BLURB:
Why would a talented young woman enter into a torrid affair with hunger, drugs, sex, and death? 

Through five lengthy hospital stays, endless therapy, and the loss of family, friends, jobs, and all sense of what it means to be "normal," Marya Hornbacher lovingly embraced her anorexia and bulimia -- until a particularly horrifying bout with the disease in college put the romance of wasting away to rest forever. 

A vivid, honest, and emotionally wrenching memoir, Wasted is the story of one woman's travels to reality's darker side -- and her decision to find her way back on her own terms. 

WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK:

First published in 1998, WASTED has recently been reissued with a new Afterword by the author Marya Hornbacher. 

Her eating disorder began at the age of eight and dominated her life from that point onwards, leading her to ever more destructive behaviours until it almost claimed her life. 

She was hospitalised and institutionalised, got better and relapsed, fought new battles, and relapsed again, and slowly and painfully inched her way back to health. 

This is not an easy read – it is raw, brutal, honest, and frightening – but also brilliant, poetic, illuminating and very brave. 


WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING MEMOIR?


BOOK REVIEW: FASTING GIRLS: The History of Anorexia Nervosa by Joan Jacobs Brumberg

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


THE BLURB:

Winner of four major awards, this updated edition of Joan Jacobs Brumberg's Fasting Girls, presents a history of women's food-refusal dating back as far as the sixteenth century. 

Here is a tableau of female self-denial: medieval martyrs who used starvation to demonstrate religious devotion, "wonders of science" whose families capitalized on their ability to survive on flower petals and air, silent screen stars whose strict "slimming" regimens inspired a generation. 

Here, too, is a fascinating look at how the cultural ramifications of the Industrial Revolution produced a disorder that continues to render privileged young women helpless.

Incisive, compassionate, illuminating, Fasting Girls offers real understanding to victims and their families, clinicians, and all women who are interested in the origins and future of this complex, modern and characteristically female disease.

WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK:

Many people think of anorexia nervosa as a modern-day problem, but as Dr Brumberg shows in this biography of the disease, young women have been starving themselves to death from at least the 13th century onwards.

The reasons that drive such an obsession change from century to century, but the tragic results are the same. FASTING GIRLS looks at cases from medieval martyrs to contemporary celebrities, always searching to illuminate the complex reasons that led to such self-destructive behaviour. 

Although Dr Brumberg is a historian, she draws upon medical and psychiatric studies of the times in her research, to create a truly illuminating look at the emotional disorder that has destroyed so many lives. 

AN INTERESTING SUBJECT, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS BOOK?


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