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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

on 20 March 2014
much more than a memoir of one woman's history of disordered eating. Interesting insights and ideas about how these individual illnesses are part of and sometimes reflections of wider culture.

Very highly recommended.
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on 12 January 2013
Caroline Knapp's Appetites beautifully unravels the ways that women's desires are shaped by culture, media, family dynamics, and ultimately, by a sense of emptiness (to her, an inherent part of being human).

As I read through the book, pencil in hand, I kept on thinking, "Yes! Yes! That's it exactly. Why could I never articulate this?"

Rather than accept the all too lauded trope that the media and culture are behind women's disordered eating, Knapp digs deeper and creates a more holistic portrait. She talks about the way her relationship with her own mother influenced her eating disorder but also the troublesome way that young women learn about their own bodies in our society, namely placing focus on external rather than internal cues. Furthermore, she draws on the ways that consumerist society reinforces the externalization of desire--"the pursuit of happiness reconfigured as the pursuit of stuff" (140).

Her argument is clearly a feminist one. She supports a society where women's self-acceptance is nurtured. Where women are encouraged to feel and enjoy what is pleasurable rather than try to fulfil a socially constructed ideal of femininity which so often ignores the body's own appetites.
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on 19 March 2010
This is a remarkable book, written by a woman who had experience of many kinds of appetite, mental and physical. She discusses the cultural views of flaws built into the female form, and the seemingly endless books aimed at helping women to help themselves (because, of course, they are flawed..). It displays humour and understanding, and provokes thought. What more could anyone require?
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