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My Hungry Hell: What it's Really Like to be Anorexic - A Personal Story [Paperback]

Kate Chisholm
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Sep 2002
Kate Chisholm was 24 when she was first hospitalized with anorexia nervosa. At the time she desperately wanted to eat but had lost the ability to do so; locked in her solitary battle with food, she had come to see it as the enemy, the means of her destruction. This is a different sort of anorexia book. "My Hungry Hell" is not simply about recovery. Journeying back into the mindset of her 24-year-old self, Kate seeks to relive the experience of anorexia and, with the help of those suffering from the disease now, to explain its cruel contradictions.

Product details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd (2 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904095232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904095231
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 12.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Kate Chisholm reviews regularly in the Sunday Telegraph and the London Evening Standard. Her first book, a biography of Fanny Burney, was published in 1998 by Chatto and Windus.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Intelligent 12 Mar 2005
By Ella
'My Hungry Hell' is an intelligent analysis of the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa. Starting with the author's previous battle with anorexia as a basis point, she goes on to explore the origins and social/historical context of the disease throughout the last millenium. From fasting female nuns in the thirteenth century, to starving fashion models in modern times, Chisholm explores the nature of anorexia, and the disasterous effect it can have on both the sufferer and the their family.
With the benefit of hindsight and full 'recovery', Chisholm looks back at the medical help she recieved in 1970s England, and compares this to the treatment used today. She also raises the question of media influence upon young girl's body image, and makes some insightful points about the prescence of the disease throughout history, before these influences exsisted.
Using references from many other texts, including Victorian, religous and feminist literature, Chisholm explores the many different opinions that exsist about this complex problem. This is a very intelligent book, clearly written from an academic standpoint. By using her own personal experience throughout she gives weight to many of the arguments raised, and helps to make the book accessible to all readers.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hungry Hell by Kate Chisholm. 12 Nov 2002
Hungry Hell by Kate Chisholm.
A book about anorexia is hardly what I would consider a nice read but due to a friends recommendation I picked up 'Hungry Hell.' My first impression was confirmed a single page in, this is NOT a 'nice' read, but it is a 'good' one. It should be required reading for everyone, not simply those (as the blurb on the back cover suggests); "trying to cope with the nightmare of living with a non-eater" but for everyone because whether you have suffered from it, treated it, witnessed it or barely even heard of it its generally agreed that no-one truly understands it, however, this short and at times brutal book comes closer than most.
Although at heart it is the author's personal experience it is sadly a shared story. Too often anorexia nervosa is attributed to vanity and the sufferers aspiration to be as thin as our catwalk models and I was guilty of the same misconception until I read that even in the seventeenth century, without Vogue, Detox, or changing room mirrors, anorexia was being well documented as a form of 'consumption,' proof that despite that era's preference for curvaceous, even plump women, people were already turning themselves into the skeletal fashion icons of today. Incredibly, given even less consideration than the women, are the male sufferers; one man to every ten women has the same illness.
'Hungry Hell' clearly unveils a highly psychological and also sociological disorder. It is really quite a disturbing book but given the serious content, to approach it in any other manner would be an insult to the 30% of sufferers who die from this disease and the many, many others that never recover.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unsentimental account of a devastating illness 3 Oct 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
... I, for one, think that Chisholm's book is long overdue - at last, a concise, honest, unsentimental and mature account of an often-misunderstood condition. Being underweight, as the author points out, has nothing to do with striving to look like a supermodel, but everything to do with retaining control in at least one area of your life. Most anorexics, like Chisholm, come from loving, close and intelligent families. The relationship between Chisholm and her parents comes across as warm and strong,despite the inevitable disputes that arise round the dinner table when one member of the family cannot eat a 'normal' meal. This is a story of courage with a happy ending, a voyage of self-discovery charted by the sufferer herself, with curiosity and honesty. As a literary journalist I know how difficult it is to be honest and to write about painful topics, without resulting to being over-emotional or getting trapped underneath cloying descriptions. Kate Chisholm has managed this admirably in her short book. She chooses her words with care and demonstrates her craft with great skill.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!! 15 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Being a sufferer of anorexia myself, i was unsure of whether this book was appropriate me as it is intended for sufferers. However, reading this book has been hugely beneficial for me. It gave me a REALLY vivid and deep insight into the origins of the illness, giving me a much better understanding of why it takes hold. It was reasuring to read of someone else's experiance, which had so much in common with mine. It's like seeing into the deep, dark depths of my own mind!
Chisholm is an inspirational, analytical and insightful author. She quotes from a vast number of materias and i feel that her book is able to draw together the important information from each and fits them together with significant elaborations.
This book has changed the way i look at recovery. It provides bucket-loads of useful advice and gives me genuine hope that it is possible.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to sufferers AND carers alike!!
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6 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars i didnt like this book 24 Aug 2003
By roberta
I didn't like this book, i bought it together with "running on empty" and as soon as i started reading this one, i totally abbandoned "hungry hell" which was already boring me a lot.
Thanks for reading my review:).
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