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An Apple A Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery from Anorexia by [Woolf, Emma]
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An Apple A Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery from Anorexia Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Length: 258 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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'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.'


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

(BBC 2's Newsnight)

Featured in Psychologies magazine, September 2012.


'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.'


'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.'


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."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 690 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale Publishers Ltd (4 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0080S2A20
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,443 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very interesting and well written account of what it's like to suffer from an eating disorder. I would highly recommend this book.
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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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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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If you ever needed proof that having a famous relative (Virginia Woolf in this case) was enough to get you into print, then look no further!

Emma was a happy girl, even being sent to London's poshest private school along with her two sisters and two brothers, despite her parents being "hilariously poor" as she puts it. But then life got in the way, a relationship turned sour in Manhattan, together with other tragic events, and anorexia set in. Eating disorders are always tough, no matter who they happen to, but what I presume the author wanted to be a revealing and useful book, simply came off as shallow and irritating. If you're looking for a novel by someone who constantly tells us her lowest weight as an anorexic (VERY triggering, and someone who claims to know as much about anorexia as Ms. Woolf does should know better); name-drops all the places around the globe she has accompanied her travel writer boyfriend on; complains about how awfully exhausting it is to be jetting out of London each weekend to some new and exotic location; mean and nasty third-world countries who don't cook food the way she wants it done ("My food has to be a certain way - and when you travel as much as we do, it rarely is") - food drenched in butter in Tanzania and other African countries, problems in Zanzibar over bread rolls, and an awful time in Barbados looking for low-fat yogurt, not to mention a traumatic experience in midst of the Indian Ocean: "When (Tom, her boyfriend) tried fruit-bat curry in the Seychelles (and I ate a plain green salad), I remember feeling sad that I couldn't join in".
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Emma Woolf has had a very privileged background, she leads a super luxurious life travelling the globe with her equally privileged boyfriend, writing in her moleskin journals and not eating much. She is spoilt, self obsessed and, being a graduate of Oxford and the grandaughter of Virginia Woolf, has a fabulous job in publishing.

Sour grapes led me to hurl the damn book across the room on a number of occasions: like Brooklyn Beckham, Emma will have so many opportunities the rest of us just won't and she goes on about her 5 star lifestyle too often for us to forget that.

In between, there is some interesting material. I know ill health happens to the wealthy too and that I should be more generous in acknowledging the honesty that has gone into a searingly honest and often helpful account of anorexia from the inside. I am just feeling let down that this book didn't help me at all, it just made me feel utterly miserable.
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this was exceptionally dull and quite disappointing. I bought this expecting a book about anorexia; instead it is a book about Emma Woolf's fertility and her boyfriend. Why she thinks we care about the ins and outs of her ovaries i do not know; i truly wanted to read about anorexia, not her boyfriend and her desire to have a baby despite being unable to eat buttered bread. The baby talk is exhausting and quite frankly i don't give a damn. If she's still anorexic it would be irrevocably irresponsible to have a baby because she simply does not eat enough and the baby would be born malnourished.

Overall she is not a very likeable person, her writing is repetitive, tedious and quite shockingly poor for someone who read Eng Lit at Oxford. Not to mention the bragging about being a functioning anorexic, it is crystal clear she is not recovered and following in Hornbachers footsteps she has only succeeded in glamorising anorexia.

It was a complete waste of money and i really dont recommend you buy this book - especially if you have an ED because it gives no motivation whatsoever to recover.
It's a self obsessed, draining and vapid book.
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