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4.4 out of 5 stars
108
4.4 out of 5 stars
An Apple a Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery from Anorexia
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on 23 March 2013
I thought this was very well written. Anorexia and mental illness is difficult to write about without hiding too much or being triggering but I think Emma Woolf managed it very well and I wish her the best in her recovery, it can't of been easy for her to share it with us.
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on 19 February 2013
I bought this book based on the title and the fact that Emma Woolf had apparently recovered from anorexia. Having read the book I do not feel she has recovered from this illness and was disappointed as I wanted to read a positive story of recovery.
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on 27 May 2013
Anorexia or not I am certain every person can relate to Emma's journey and thought processes. Some how she has managed to eloquently put her personal thoughts into powerful yet relatable words. I dare you to read this and not respect and admire Emma.
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on 20 February 2013
i read this book as the subject matter is of interest to me for several reasons. I think for anyone trying to understand anorexia it is a very useful account as it shows the need for a controlled life which also includes the need to control food.
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on 19 May 2012
Interestingly within this book a Doctor tells Emma "It's time to give up anorexia Emma. It's time to grow up." This echoes the general consensus of what people think an eating disorder suffer is - immature and in the grip of a seemingly destructive lifestyle choice. However, Emma gives a voice to those intelligent, rational individuals who just happen to be caught in the grip of a wholly irrational illness. The road to recovery from such a dis-ease is long, frustrating and a times rather funny.

If you wish to read a unique, honest and probably the best account of an eating disorder and recovery look no further. In fact if you wish to read writing of excellence and eloquence look no further than Emma.
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on 6 March 2013
This book must be read by anyone suffering with anorexia - it will help you understand your feelings, and I would recommend you pass it on to your family and close ones too so they understand the extent to which it affects your life.
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on 17 June 2013
as a recovering anorexic, this book was really interesting and definitely worth a read! it did trigger me slightly though, so I'd only recommend it to someone suffering eating problems if you're well on the way to recovery!
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on 11 May 2012
This is the most honest, open description of the process of recovery from an eating disorder, I have ever read. Emma's account is testimony to her courage in tackling this most secretive of conditions, and I am sure it will inspire many others to move forward in their recovery journey. It has certainly inspired me. Emma places the issue of eating disorders firmly in the public arena, and challenges the myth that anorexia is about vanity, or a diet gone wrong. A fabulous book, on so many levels. Essential reading for anyone battling an eating disorder, and anyone who wants to understand more.
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on 27 January 2013
Before I read this book I had been suffering with anorexia for a number of years. I am no slowly overcoming anorexia and I can honestly say that this book has helped me. It was like my life in someone else's words!
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on 15 April 2013
Having read quite a few books that examine anorexia Emma Woolf's An Apple A Day offers a different perspective on the illness to the chronicles I have read which track the victim's journey into the deep grip the illness can have on those affected. I did not know that Woolf had previously written about her experiences with anorexia for her column in The Times newspaper but nonetheless An Apple A Day is a valuable addition to books which raise awareness of the illness.

Emma Woolf's book offers a more overall and contextual investigation of anorexia and its affects on people to the journals that exists on anorexia that sees the illness from the victim's perspective only (Incidentally, a very good account of the illness is Jennifer Hendrick's Slim To None which is a harrowing and haunting read). Woolf writes from the point of her life where she decides she wants to recover and have a child with her boyfriend. Where previous anorexia books I read usually start from when the illness takes hold Woolf's alternative starting point lets the reader consider new aspects of anorexia. She is able to look back to see what went wrong and examine her attitudes to food before anorexia took hold in her twenties and contrast it to her responses to food in the present day. Foremost in her book is that anorexia is not just a physical disease but that the mental side of the illness also needs attention and care. An example of this is when an old flame of her dies through suicide and her family anxiously monitor her weight lest she lapses back into anorexia but forget to offer her support in the midst of Woolf's grieving for her old lover.

Woolf also expands her analysis of anorexia into different social and medical areas. She investigates such areas as the lack of knowledge the public have of the disease, the high mortality rate where 20% of its sufferers will die as well as modern media attitudes to women's bodies. My personal view is that the more which can be done to promote anorexia as not just `the slimmer's disease' than the more accurate public knowledge will be of the illness, which is the same as Woolf's. She is frank about the terrors of making public an illness that has been private, which by its nature requires isolation to be affective, but is surprised by the genuine well wishers and how her column has helped open up debate in families. One issue I did notice though from reading An Apple A Day is the illness consistently demands of the sufferer that they explain themselves whether this is to family, the medical profession or the public in this case all of which entail humiliation for Woolf on some level.

Woolf also displays a level of self-awareness of how restrictive the illness is not just for herself but for other people too. Through the tight control over their food habits the anorexic feels they need to possess her reluctance to relinquish this. She is honest about the anxieties and tantrums there are when food is served to her in an unfamiliar form particularly when she is abroad. Likewise Woolf is ashamed of how her food habits have prevented social interactions with other people: from working lunches, birthday parties and spontaneous sharing of cake in the office are all are occasions which threaten her sense of security. Woolf is wistful and regretful for the opportunities she did miss; the central place food has when people interact is unavoidable but anorexia takes priority over all other concerns - such is its grip over its victims. The emotional distance it can also place between her and other people in the battle for control over oneself is also another affect of the illness as evidenced by her reluctance to move in with her boyfriend until a discussion with an aunt.

If The Times ever choose to print her columns in book format I will be happy to buy it as Woolf is sincere and honest about the difficulties of trying to recover even when strong motivations for recovery exist. I wish her well in reaching her dream of becoming a mother and overcoming her struggles with anorexia.
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