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Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia Paperback – 24 Sep 1998
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At the age of four Marya Hornbacher looked in a mirror and decided she was fat. At nine, she was bulimic. At 12, she was anorexic. By the time she was 18, she'd been hospitalized five times, once in a mental asylum. Her doctors and her parents had given up on her; they were watching her die. But Marya decided to live. Four years on, now 22, here is her tale, powerfully told in a mix of memoir, cultural criticism and psychological examination. Here is the fury of a clever woman made stupid by her culture, who threw away her teenage years in a continuous cycle of bingeing and vomiting or just plain starvation.
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excerpts from the British reviews
A heart-rending memoir Elle
A stunningly original and beautifully written book gouging deep into a gruesome subject which, by comparison, other writers have merely flirted with. KATIE CAMPBELL, Evening Standard
This factual account of a 23-year olds experience of anorexia and bulimia is not just another confessional. It has not been written as an act of therapy or for financial gain. It is a prose poem. This does not detract from its painful force nor from the authors searing intelligence (one has to keep reminding oneself that she is only 23) but rather adds to the force of her communication Through a mixture of horrific autobiography, medical anecdotes and quotes from Nietzsche, Plath, Emily Dickinson and Lewis Carroll, she tries to tell you what suffering from anorexia is like. At every stage in the story of her illness she pulls to pieces the thought processes that justify starving herself to death. Like Plath she writes with a metaphoric intensity which at times seems tragically indistinguishable from the power of her drive to self-destruct. Her brutal honesty as to why it happened to her family culture, low self-worth, did she just come out that way? and her lack of special pleading, only adds to the essential pain of the book. If you want to understand anorexia, read this book. ALICE THOMPSON, Scotsman
The mind of Hornbacher is sharper than were her collar-bones when she weighed 4 stone, was given a week to live, and suddenly decided not to die. It is her 23-year-old body that was wasted by fourteen years of anorexia and bulimia. Her true story is painfully honest, analytical, complex and sad: compulsive reading. Harpers & Queen
A brilliantly moving memoir TOBIAS JONES, Frank
What marks Wasted out is the quality of the voice. Hornbacher is, simply, a good writer. Her gift for description makes even the familiar aspects of the phenomenon newly real. She is coolly vivid on the sheer violence of anorexia, correcting any misconception that its a passive disease; it is rather a no-holds-barred attack on your flesh. Theres an edge to her prose capturing the wildness of her eventual starved mania successfully catching a young womans desperate desire to counter the cultural voice that tells her shes "too much, too much, too much". Wasted will be of value not only to fellow sufferers: any woman who has ever been made gleeful by the diminishing of her physical self will gain from reading this painful and sharp-boned account. SYLVIA BROWNRIGG, GuardianSee all Product description
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This book has become a best seller, has been published in 16 languages and is taught in universities round the world. Disclosing all that was kept a secret for so long was neither an easy or enjoyable process, Hornbacher's one hope in writing it being 'to keep people from going where I went.' My only caveat on this would be to say that in the wrong hands (someone caught up in or contemplating bulimia/ anorexia) this should be the LAST book to read!
That being said, I do highly recommend this book. It is truly beautiful.
Not sentimental, but brilliant, sharp, open, honest, tragic and heart rendering. A story told to educate, rip apart the glamour of eating disorders.
I couldn't put this book down, and while I agree with some of the reviewers that this book could be perseived as a trigger, I think it needs to be read, and i'm sure the author needed to write it.
The author shows anorexia and bullimia in all it's horrors and the iron grip which it has on her to this day. To show us and help us understand that each day is a new day, but that we will always carry the scars of our past with us into the future.
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