on 12 May 2002
"Catherine" is Maureen Dunbar's account of her much loved daughter's battle with and eventual death from anorexia nervosa. Maureen Dunbar not only deals with the ways in which Catherine's illness affected her but also the effect it had on her family and how they reacted to it. Extracts from Catherine's diary over the course of her illness give the reader further insight into the psychological trauma of anorexia. However, I feel that "Catherine" is slightly undermined by the fact that Maureen Dunbar's descriptions of family life are not entirely unbiased. Catherine is superior to the average "anorexic book" in that it is based on first hand experince and concentrates on the psycological consequences of anorexia rather than the behavioural traits of the anorexic. I find this particularly comendable as some "anorexic books" can potentially become instruction manuals for young anorexics in the way that books like "The Best Little Girl in the World" have. I first picked up "Catherine" because Catherine Dunbar went to my school and there was a great deal of hype surrounding the novel. Whilst "Catherine" is far from being a work of literary greatness I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with anorexic friends or loved ones who wants to understand more about the condition.