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Life-Size Hardcover – 10 Dec 1992

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Trade); First Printing edition (10 Dec. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395604796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395604793
  • Package Dimensions: 20.6 x 13 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,728,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Jennifer Shute was raised in South Africa. She has taught at universities in the United States and Europe, and now lives in Boston. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I ended up reading this book in one evening I can't say it was a comfortable experience.
It's a dark read with no real happy ending to soften the relentless sickly misery of Josie, the hospitalised protagonist. But this is what is so powerful about the book, Jenefer Shute really captures an aspect of anorexia I've not seen so vividly evoked before; the squalid banality of starving to death and the frenzied, frantic motivation to keep doing so, to stay in control.
The setting is as static as the protagonist's mindset, which might seem frustrating but I thought it was appropriate. On a hospital ward for re-feeding, all Josie does is eat and rage and drift through her memories - the flashbacks are the only break we get from the hospital environment, and they're just as bleak. Only by the end of the book is Josie deemed physically stable enough to begin the real therapy and this is where we leave her, broken by the feeding regime and still ambivalent about life.
My only problem with the book is Josie's character! In the hospital and in the flashbacks she's a mean-spirited spoiled brat and that gets exhausting to read quickly. Of course, she has reasons to be angry, but she's not a pleasant companion to share the hospital experience with.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
'Life-Size' is an excellent piece of fiction, using black humour and artistic originality to create a gripping dramatic prose.
The book is narrated by Josie, a severely anorexic young woman. The book is essentially a static one, with little plot except the memories and flashbacks in her mind. Starting off in the hospital where Josie has ended up and working backwards, we piece together the steps and events it has taken to get to this point.
Written with complete accuracy, the author manages to effectively convey the thoughts and mentality of a person with anorexia right down to the specific details. As we see the world through Josie's eyes, we see everything from the persepctive of a disordered mind. And Josie's extreme polarised thinking is made bearable (and even enjoyable) by a sharp wit and a deeply dark sense of humour. It is crafted almost like a piece of horror, a piece of black humour where the reality presented to us is so horrific that it becomes almost funny. It is similar in a way to Bret Easton Ellis's 'American Pyscho', where the mentality of a pyschopath becomes the 'norm' for the reader, and you become used it.
The narrative switches back and forth between past memories and present day, which gives the reader a brief and snatched reasons as to why Josie has become the way she has. Short insinuations about paternal abuse quickly appears only to disappear just as quickly again, leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions. This is an effective way of writing, as it accurately mirrors the way Josie's mind works - brief memories quickly pushed to the back of her mind, so as not to dredge up past horrors. It makes for a gripping read, always leaving you wanting more information.
A truly great piece of fiction - and an inspired choice using an anorexic as a protaginist without resorting to using the novel as a piece of anti-anorexic propoganda.
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Format: Paperback
This book follows the story of Josie, who is in hospital suffering from anorexia. She doesn't believe she has a problem and finds it extremely difficult to come to terms with her problem.
This book explains carefully what it is like to be anorexic, and explains her thoughts well.
The only thing that I didn't like was things that were hinted at but not explained properly, such as what really happened with her Dad, and a trip to the hospital, which I'm assuming was after she ate the glass?
I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to know about eating disorders, or just for general reading it's definitly worth a look.
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Format: Paperback
This book follows the life of a 25 year old woman called Josie who is suffering from anorexia. You see everything through her eyes and her thoughts. This story is not morbid at all, but full of laughter and tears. It shows another angle to how someone suffering with anorexia might think and feel. After reading this story, I can see a little of Josie in everyone. I recommend everyone reads this book.
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Format: Paperback
Life-size is a fictional first-person account told from the perspective of its anorexic protagonist. Taking place mostly in the hospital in which the central character, Josie, is resident, the narrative is interwoven with her memories, both imagined and real, from life before hospitalisation in addition to her observations about her current surroundings. Far from being macabre, as its subject matter might suggest, Life-size is humorous as well as poignant, moving and beautifully written. The language is as witty and incisive as the novel's central protagonist. Jenefer Shute avoids polemicising or directly politicising anorexia but instead provides an insightful story which raises awareness of the distress and isolation that accompanies the disorder. This is a compelling novel which you will want to devour in one sitting but will also want to savour again and again.
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