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An Apple a Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery from Anorexia Paperback – 30 Apr 2012

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More About the Author

Emma Woolf is a writer, columnist and award-winning journalist. Born and brought up in London, she studied English at Oxford University. She worked in Psychology publishing before going freelance and writes for The Times, The Independent, The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, The Mail on Sunday, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Grazia, Red, Psychologies, Top Sante and The Sun among others.

Internationally, she writes for Vanity Fair in Italy, Harper's Bazaar and The New Daily in Australia, Newsweek, Vice and The Daily Beast in the US, and Vogue Korea.

Media appearances include Newsnight, Woman's Hour, World at One, PM Programme and Radio Five Live. Emma is a regular reviewer on Radio 4's Saturday Review and BBC London's Review the Day. She's also co-presenter on Channel 4's Supersize vs Superskinny.

Emma is the great-niece of Virginia Woolf.



Product Description

Review

'In An Apple a Day Emma comes across as brave, real and determined. I'm sure that in sharing her story many others will be encouraged to speak out from the stigma of this horrible illness and realise that there is a life worth living beyond calorie counts and scales. It is a battle worth fighting.'

(Grace Bowman, author of 'Thin')

'Frank and compelling... made me understand anorexia in a way I never have before.'

(Woman's Hour BBC Radio 4)

'Love your column… Read it religiously. Very positive. And brave.'

(Twitter follower)

'An Apple a Day tells a powerful story, heart warming and heart rending by turns. It is ultimately a story filled with hope, and Emma Woolf's moving, deeply personal account of her journey out of anorexia will bring that hope to so many more people trapped by this dreadful illness.'

(Susan Ringwood (Chief Executive, Beat))

'There are many books written by people who have struggled with anorexia. Perhaps every heroic journey deserves the right to be heard especially by others who suffer, to know that they are not alone. By the same token these books need to be read by healers who seek to guide sufferers into a different way of life. Emma's book however differs from all the others I have read. It is not just Emma's elegant way with words, it is also her ability to document her thoughts and behaviour while also exposing them to her own insightful analysis and curiosity. I felt humbled, never having quite realized, despite my years of experience, the extent to which this illness can hold someone hostage to its power even when it is held up to the light of intense and public scrutiny. The one take-home message brought home to the reader is that healing anorexia is little to do with gaining weight; this will reduce some of the symptoms while at the same time making other life experiences feel infinitely more dangerous - like emerging feelings and the challenges of sharing your life with other people. It also proves that anorexia can only be properly faced, fought and even hopefully mastered when weight isn't dangerously low. I will recommend Emma's personal account to every therapist I train, while wishing her the happy ending she so clearly deserves.'

(Deanne Jade, psychologist and founder of the National Centre for Eating Disorders)

'a compelling account of anorexia which in deceptively simple style, really gets under the skin of why people starve themselves. Woolf, the great-niece of Virginia, has already charted her progress in a weekly column for the Times which received a huge response from fellow sufferers and their loved ones.'

(The Bookseller)

'The contrast between her privileged life and her personal misery is strikingly established in this book before she begins to deal positively with her long-standing 'addiction to hunger'… 'Coming out' about her condition and narrating the process of recovery has been as much agony as therapy, but it has been a needful exercise for the writer and her support group of readers.'

(The Times)

Featured on

(Woman's Hour BBC Radio 4)

'The title of her book is laced with irony: an apple a day does not keep the doctor away if that is all you are eating... her words are neatly woven, not sentimental - the account of the life and love of a thirty-something woamn... It could be any of us. Some of the most interesting passages are about how she 'outed' herself, first to her boyfriend, Tom, and later to readers of The Times, in a popular column which continues each Tuesday... Just a few weeks ago she ate her first chocolate bar in 15 years.'

(The Islington Tribune)

'Having gone through both the disease and the recovery at one time myself, I share her conviction that we need more understanding of this complicated condition. Stories of survival from those who have suffered with the illness need to be brought forward if we are to one day unlock this chamber of secrets.'

(Joanna Patricia Caveney PinkVox.com)

Featured in Harper's BAZAAR, July 2012

(Harper's Bazaar)

'… Giving a clear insight into the feelings that underpin this complex disorder, Emma also shines a light on addiction generally; the self-destructive and self-sabotaging tendencies that go hand in hand with poor self-worth and skewed perspective… Eloquent, profoundly moving, romantic and, at times, shockingly candid, Emma's fearless and honest account is ultimately one of hope.'

(Spirit FM Book Club)

'So much more than a memoir… told through touching prose about her relationships and career. It's such a compelling read, you may well be glued to the book until the final page.'

(Healthy)

Featured on BBC 2's Newsnight, 31 July 2012.

(BBC 2's Newsnight)

Featured in Psychologies magazine, September 2012.

(Psychologies)

'If you read one thing this year, make it An Apple a Day.'

(Pop Goes Culture Blog)

'In this heartfelt look at the causes of her eating disorder, Woolf emphatically states that her anorexia was not the result of striving to look good based on unrealistic media images but rather a mental illness based on her need for control… As Woolf walked through her personal process of self-discovery and change in her newspaper columns, she touched a chord with fellow sufferers, their families and their therapists, whose responses she includes. Her perceptive and articulate account is frank about the mental torment she endured without being morose. Insightful and informative, with fresh insights into the nature of eating disorders.'

(Kirkus)

'There is one non-fiction book which I can honestly say went some way towards saving my life… I offer up almost daily, silent, thanks to Emma Woolf for being brave enough to tell her story which made me brave enough to face up to mine.'

(http://marthameg.wordpress.com/)

About the Author

Emma Woolf is the great-niece of Virginia Woolf. After studying English at Oxford University she worked in publishing, before becoming a full-time writer. She is a columnist for The Times and also writes for The Independent, The Mail on Sunday, Harper's Bazaar, Red, Grazia and Psychologies. She was a co-presenter on Channel 4's Supersize vs Superskinny; other media appearances include Newsnight, Woman's Hour and Radio 4's Four Thought. Emma's first book, An Apple a Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery from Anorexia was published in 2012 and shortlisted for the Beat Award for Recovery Inspiration. She was also nominated for Mind's Journalist of the Year. She lives in London. You can follow Emma on Twitter: @ejwoolf. Review of The Ministry of Thin in the Observer: "Woolf sets her stall out with brio." "Woolf's skill in is in adding intellectual and emotional ballast to the debates that interest her. In its best moments, this book emerges as a hypnotist's finger-click signalling women to wake up."

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sammy J on 3 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
As a sufferer of anorexia myself, I love reading about recovery stories and ways I can improve and finally get on the road to recovery. I picked this book thinking it was a recovery story, but it is very clear from the beginning that Emma is still suffering from anorexia quite badly. Also, at times, I felt like she was almost 'showing off' how severe her anorexia was in her darker days as she keeps repeating her extremely low weight and how she's suffered for 'over a decade'.
On the positive side, I did find the book very insightful and could relate to her thoughts and anxieties very well. She is a wonderful writer and I wish her all the best on her road to recovery
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Miranda B on 12 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Emma is the most brilliant writer. This is an incredibly moving book describing her battle with anorexia - a wretched disease which affects too many lives. As a former sufferer, I could identify with lots of what she has written. What stuck out the most for me was the constant anxiety and worry - the ongoing thoughts about food and cleanliness. This is all to real and was at times difficult to read because of the memories it bought back. Emma's account paints a very real picture of what it is like for a sufferer. Emma constantly demonstrates how determined she is to beat this illness - which is why I think its important that others read this wonderful book because you will be shown that the road to recovery is not at all easy. But it IS possible. Thank you, Emma, for being so brave and sharing your story with us. Make sure you also read her other book - The Ministry of Thin: How the Pursuit of Perfection Got Out of Control
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rose on 7 May 2012
Format: Paperback
In 'An Apple a Day' I discovered many real and identifiable emotions and struggles:control, autonomy, identity, addiction, fear ... and yet the book has an underlying sense of hope and strength which comes from the author's honesty and determination. From reading this book (in one emotional sitting!) I have found comfort in the fact that we are not alone in our struggles, no matter how extreme they may be. I am delighted to have found this an open, insightful and intelligent account of this complex illness. Emma Woolf's story will stay with me forever.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sonia on 26 Jan. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a fellow sufferer, I identified with much of what Emma said. But her journey is still ongoing and it isn't a book about recovery, more an insight into the world of eating disorders. She writes candidly about her struggles and I would recommend this to anyone wanting to understand more about eating disorders as the media image is not accurate. A parent, relative or friend of a sufferer may well find this book a helpful read as may somebody seeking to recover. But those totally in the grip of anorexia would probably not be in the right frame of mind to read this. Anorexia is a very complex illness and such books can sometimes be read hungrily (excuse the pun) to compare, compete and even try to pick up tips. Emma manages to avoid constant references to weight and there are no shocking images in the book which I found reassuring as she is in no way "proud" of her illness as is the case in some books I have read where the author includes emaciated photos of themselves and refers to weight and BMI constantly. By not doing this, Emma seems genuinely to want to recover but I agree with other reviews that she has a long way to go yet and I wish her well in her battle to beat this cruel disease. Finally, thank you for personally responding to the email I sent you, Emma, much appreciated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Turnbull on 16 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
I've read a number of books on anorexia, and found Emma Woolf's account to be one of the most hopeful tomes on the subject. Her prose style is well rendered and easy to relate to, while the content is shamefully honest. She doesn't hide the fact that she often felt like a fraud in the presence of so called 'real anorexics' (those undergoing hospital treatment). Though I enjoyed this a lot, it doesn't stack up next to Marya Hornbacher's shockingly grim "Wasted". It's a little heavy on the romance at times, but overall essential reading for those suffering from an ED.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lucie Owen on 27 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Couldn't read this after the middle of the first chapter...an exceptionally depressing read for a recovering anorexic and also monotonous and boring. Like many of the other reviews pointed out, Emma is not recovered and her references to food and weight are dangerous and unhelpful to those still fighting anorexia. I wish Emma all the best and hope she gets the help she needs in order to live and recover fully.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lauren G on 25 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am always wary of reading books written by those who have recovered from an eating disorder. As someone who is still struggling with anorexia nervosa after eight years, they can sometimes present a trigger for my own disorder. This is not the case at all with Emma Woolf's memoirs surrounding her decision to finally cast off her decade-old eating disorder, using a column in a national newspaper in order to provide accountability during her struggle.

The first thing I felt about Ms Woolf's story how hopeful it is, especially for someone such as myself, who has suffered for some years now. She writes of eerily similar thoughts that I have contemplated myself; all the "to-and-fro" and emotional "see-sawing" between recovery and the "safety" of anorexia. She articulates so well everything that I feel on a day to day basis; the torment, the punishment and isolation that anorexia truly causes. Emma also intersperses her story with political, societal and philosophical musings on the nature of eating disorders and their relation to the wider world, and references many studies undertaken which will be of interest to many readers.

It is an incredibly inspiring story and it is one that has really spurred me on to attain recovery; to know that it is possible to suffer and then to really LIVE.

Emma certainly doesn't "sugar coat" her recovery story; it is full of ups and downs, but this makes it far easier to relate to. Anyone who endured any form of mental illness knows that recovery is akin to a rollercoaster and Emma has helped me to realise that there may be difficulties, but the end goal is really achievable.

This book is going to be invaluable during recovery and many of her words have struck such a chord with me.

I would recommend this not only for any sufferer who is considering recovery but also for anyone who wants to understand the true experience of living with an eating disorder.
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