I don't really write reviews online as I often think that I would really have much to say other than a sentence or two, but I feel that others (like myself) may judge this book if they aren't into biographies, particularly biographies of 'celebrities' and not your stereotypical stars (like Marilyn and co). I knew of and liked Portia through Arrested Development but never thought that she'd done enough to merit an autobiography before this.
I bought this book for my sister and only picked it up after it was left lying around in the house. Engaging from the beginning, this book is intelligently and thoughtfully written. It doesn't feel as formulaic as the standard autobiography format, and the inserted photographs only serve to emphasize Portia's mental and physical decline as her dramatic health problems are listed beside studio photographs. The story is also told in the less standard childhood/fame route. Instead Portia seamlessly interweaves recollections from her childhood and links them with the trials she faced as a grown woman. She discusses her crippling obsession with calorie counting (and her food binges), her confusion about her sexuality (not about being straight but about how to be gay) and the pressures she felt from a young age about her image and her self-worth. The story is told with such honesty and insight that I couldn't help but feel touched when she finally reached a state of self-acceptance, and it has allowed me to be angry (again) about the mass media approach towards beauty and feminism. A starkly honest story which deserves to be read. This is a beautiful book and I plan to buy my own copy, treasure it, and if I ever have a daughter, I will ask her to read it. This book is an education in self-esteem, eating disorders, and happiness. I can't recommend it enough.