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on 11 November 2009
'Sitting at table for dinner became my most dreaded moment of the day; and my day was spent calculating how to avoid any glance at my plate.'

Just one of the great many lines from Emily Halban's entralling book, which lingers deep in the mind afterwards. Fascinated by the subject myself for several years, reading Emily Halban's important book was a truely absorbing, moving and intriguing story of one human's years of suffering, the fear of life and the conquest for perfection, themes which all humans can relate to. So interesting in fact, I've read it twice to date and am sure I will read again.

A book not only about overcoming a disease but also of overcoming and beating the social pressures that life can build and inject into one human being, thus truely affecting their ability to think for themselves and live their life in full control.

A must read! Congratulations to Emily Halban for beating it and for writing this book for everyone to learn and share from.
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on 24 April 2008
An unmissable read....I found this to be a deeply moving and shocking book - shocking because it gives a rare insight into the mind of someone afflicted by anorexia, who is clearly intelligent, articulate and all-too aware of the enormity of her disease (this absolutely dispels any myth that anorexia is about size zero-style vanity) - and moving because of Halban's painfully honest and intimate account of her deep sadness, struggle and ultimate success. I found myself sharing so many of the same thoughts as Halban about the desire to please and finding the freedom not to be `perfect'. The voices of her family and loved ones at the end of the book - about their struggle with the disease she had - was a brilliant end to a fascinating account.
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on 5 September 2008
I am a counsellor and 'Perfect' is one of the most informative and totally honest books on anorexia that I have read. This book does not back away from reality, and through that reality there is hope for all anorexics. If you are anorexic read this book, if you are a parent or sibling of an anorexic read this book.

Emily Halban, congratulations, it took courage to write this book and you have courage by the bucketful! Kerry x
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on 27 May 2014
I really didn't like this book at all. It's not very well written and focuses a lot on how privileged her life is. I've read quite a few books on this subject and this one has to be the least helpful/informative. I found it very hard to relate to Emily in all respects of her life and found the tone quite condescending.
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on 2 November 2011
This is by far the best book on Anorexia I have ever read. It was a clear and moving account of Emily's struggles with food and I was able to identify with everything she wrote. Thank you Emily for being so honest and providing hope and comfort for those who are still suffering from this dreadful illness. Everyone with an eating disorder should be reading this book.
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on 30 January 2011
Perfect is the autobiography of a privileged girl who grows up in Geneva with a doting family, housekeepers, cleaners, cooks and Summers' spent in the south of France. Emily is a high achiever who ends up suffering from Anorexia.

Emily writes a lengthy introduction over expressing how she doesn't blame anyone else for her illness. This is a good precursor for the rest of the book which uses sentences like, `I was treated with the medicine of love' and `let the heart speak for itself'. It is saccharine from the start which is hard to get past.

Her use of pretentious and pointless metaphors was irritating. She doesn't name the type of antidepressants she was on which was also bugged me. Furthermore, she doesn't say her weight lost or gained during her recovery and relapses either.

In the first chapter of the book she claims she `never lies' then later on she recounts how she told her father she ate when she didn't - I'm pretty sure that counts as a lie. It is hard to believe someone who contradicts themselves in this way. It is also difficult to accept that she doesn't lie as Anorexia is a solitary illness that almost always involves lying or fracturing the truth to a strong degree.

The main subject of the book is Emily's recovery from her illness, the effect of it and her relationship with her family. The descent into anorexia (referred to here as Cruella) is scarcely present in this book.

She talks about having the `best' of everything from the best apple to the best fitting clothes. She never discusses money as this is clearly something she never has to worry about or consider. This is further proved as she discusses the treatments she had. During the course of her illness she tries psychiatry, psychotherapy, seeing a nutritionist, hypnotherapy, family and group therapy. She sees GPs, gynaecologists, endocrinologists and has CBT.

In chapter 19 when she talks about the loneliness of having to put on a `happy face' when everyone else wants to turn the page (you to be well) the book finally feels somewhat relatable.

The book feels affected and sentimental. It is a tough task to empathise with this `little girl' she keeps reminding us she still is.

If you want an accurate, well-written, honest autobiography of Anorexia I strongly suggest you read `Wasted' by Marya Hornbacher instead.

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on 26 May 2011
this book is brilliant i got it and by the end of the day id read over 3/4 of it ..i could not put it down ..being a person who has suffered with a eatting disorder i found this book a light ,a account of someone who i could relate to emotionally ..she writes alot of diary entries and you feel almost as if she is bearing her soul to you .she says it how it is yet lays no blame or fault on anyone ..(that so many of these subject books do) ..THIS book concentrates more on the healing process and how slip backs can happen and how she dealt with it all ..i love this book and really think anyone who is suffering or know someone who is suffering any eatting dissorder its a must read! xx
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on 8 August 2009
i have just read this book in one sitting and i felt compelled to write a review. emilys account of her anorexia and how it affected her life is particular section at the end of the book where all the family and friends write from their perspective is very moving and reduced me to tears. i think i would recommend this book to parents and loved ones as appose to a sufferer themselves(although im sure they would also get something from this book),as it gives a good insight into the illness and will resonate with them.all in all its a beautifully written book and i wish emily and all her loved ones a wonderful future.
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on 27 April 2008
A beautifully written book. Perfect is a moving and informative read. I am certain that this book will help many people affected by anorexia but Perfect will also touch a far greater audience than just those who have a connection to anorexia drawing on the importance of communication.
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on 4 April 2008
Emily Halban writes a poignant, insightful and inspiring account of her struggle with an illness whose causes are so difficult to pin down and whose physical and psychological repercussions are so wide ranging. The book first touches the reader as a personal narrative of unfailing courage and goes on to expand on themes of much wider scope. We learn how quickly a state of equilibrium is lost and yet how difficult it is in retrospect to say exactly when it was lost, but also how precarious situations of apparent stability are and how Herculean the task of reconstructing them can be. This book will prove to be a truly moving and instructive account to all who have struggled with illness or have been near someone who has.
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