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Brave Girl Eating: A Family's Struggle with Anorexia Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 24, 2010
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“What sets this book apart is the author’s incorporation of clinical research findings from the field of eating disorders into the story of one family’s struggle . . . [A] compelling story of family strength and an inspiring story for all of us committed to treating individuals with eating disorders.” (Evelyn Attia, MD, Director, Center for Eating Disorders, Columbia University Medical Center, Weill Cornell Medical College )
“One of the most up to date, relevant and honest accounts of one family’s battle with the life threatening challenges of anorexia. Brown has masterfully woven science, history and heart throughout this compelling and tender story. Brave Girl Eating was fortunate to have one brave family.” (Lynn S. Grefe, Chief Executive Officer, National Eating Disorders Association )
“Harriet Brown is an intelligent, elegant writer and this book offers both solace and useful information for families struggling with eating disorders.” (Audrey Niffenegger )
Top Customer Reviews
I feel as though she was defensive because she felt she did not accept Kitty's illness soon enough. This is common...parents are often the last to know, the last to recognize. And even when she was diagnosed, she waited weeks before she acted. I am sure she feels remorse and guilt and you see glimpses of it in her pain. She should not blame herself but she should not disregard the great deal of information available on EDs. I believe in FBT and know that it works for SOME families while others need hospitalization. I would not want other potential patients and families to read this book and believe that hospitalization or other treatments are not successful or worthy of consideration.Read more ›
The most moving parts are when she recounts her own struggles as a mother to come to grips with Kitty's anorexia and how it changed her and the rest of their family. She brings to life the fact that eating disorders impact everyone, not just the person who has the eating disorder. Her description of watching her beautiful, smart daughter's personality change as the disordered thinking of anorexia comes to the fore is heart-breaking.
But this isn't a hopeless story at all. Ms. Brown describes her discovery of family-based treatment (the Maudsley approach) to treating anorexia, and how it has a high success rate of helping people recover from eating disorders. She takes us through the treatment program step by step, showing both the good and the bad. I cheered right along with her as Kitty slowly gained weight and the aparkle of her natural personality reappeared. Anorexia is a terrible disease, but this book can give us courage that it can be defeated.
THE GOOD: I thought it was a very well written, compelling tale of a mother's struggle with her daughter's anorexia, and a mother's perspective as her daughter and her family try to deal with this deadly disease. I learned a lot about anorexia without getting caught up in jargon or in any kind of "thinspriation" speak, which the author notes she made great efforts to avoid. And, most importantly, I think this is a fresh perspective that will be incredibly helpful to other families struggling with anorexia, and provide them with information about family-based therapy, which is still not as common as other (and according to the author, less effective) therapies. I picked up this book because the New York Times Magazine article the author initially wrote has always stuck with me, and I wanted to hear the larger story, and I'm glad I read both the article and the book. That said...
THE BAD: I thought the author's agenda really got in the way of the book. She was clearly so angry at people who pushed treatment centers and blamed families that I didn't think she gave a fair discussion of those options and how they compare, especially for families who are not as available for full-time FBT as she and her husband were. I understand that this was a memoir and that she instinctively felt that treatment centers wouldn't be right for her daughter - and I would guess that she's right. But not every anorexic girl comes from a loving, intact family who has the emotional and financial resources to help their daughters the way the author did.Read more ›
When I titled my review "myth-busting" I meant that, before reading this book I thought of eating disorders as the neuroses of the hyperprivileged raised by mothers who bought into the "a woman can't be too thin or too rich" credo. But Harriet Brown is grounded, well-informed; her family is functional and loving; the message she and her husband have always given to their daughters is of acceptance of the full range of healthy body sizes. So when Kitty starts limiting her diet to a few leaves of lettuce and a precisely-counted number of grapes, wasting away before her family's eyes, erupting into tirades that seem voiced by some alien within her that calls her a pig, disgusting, worthless, Harriet is mystified and fearful.
Despite inept therapists and obstructive insurance companies, and books that perpetuate outdated and downright damaging information, Brown rallies her journalistic discipline and her lioness-mother heart to save her daughter's life, and, by the book's end, has come to a place of hope. Not complete, easy triumph -- but hope.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well written - kept me interested and this is not a topic that affects me directly.Published 1 month ago by Lynn H. Weir
I can't read anymore. I find the author's research interesting, but I can't get past her refusal to take any responsibility for her daughter's condition. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Susan
My child has a different illness, Auotonomyia. Knowing families going through Anorexia, and feeling like the family involvement and the extreme efforts the kids have to go through... Read morePublished 1 month ago by sandal
I loved this book! I could really identify with Harriet's honest struggle navigating her daughter Kitty's struggle. Very well written...I wish there was a sequel!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not what I expected. More about the mother. Never got to know the girl.Published 2 months ago by Patriot