Customer Reviews


19 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `I feel out of control and it terrifies me.'
This book is a series of diary entries between 30 July 1989 and 13 June 1990, written by Natasha Holmes, a British woman, who was then aged 19. In her diary, which starts with her summer experiences working as part of a group in Germany, she writes of meeting Alex. Alex is the other British woman in the group, and Alex and Natasha are drawn together by their shared...
Published 19 months ago by Jennifer Cameron-Smith

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Obsession is all the book is about
I get it's a diary, and in some ways that really conveys really how obsessed she is in this book, but it makes it boring to read and there is no real story in the book, other than obsession. Even before she gets anorexia and bulimia, it's still so, so much obsession, about everything. I can see why it can be a strong story, particularly for people who identify with her,...
Published on September 30, 2012 by Idun


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Obsession is all the book is about, September 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder (Kindle Edition)
I get it's a diary, and in some ways that really conveys really how obsessed she is in this book, but it makes it boring to read and there is no real story in the book, other than obsession. Even before she gets anorexia and bulimia, it's still so, so much obsession, about everything. I can see why it can be a strong story, particularly for people who identify with her, but for me it was kinda pointless to read. Only reason I finished was because I always finish books (unless they're really, really, really bad). As I understand it, this is the actual diaries of the author, and I sincerely hope she has managed to get better since the time described in the book, it's really not a good life when you starve yourself for days, are happy to get anorexia and obsess about everything.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `I feel out of control and it terrifies me.', June 11, 2013
This review is from: Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder (Kindle Edition)
This book is a series of diary entries between 30 July 1989 and 13 June 1990, written by Natasha Holmes, a British woman, who was then aged 19. In her diary, which starts with her summer experiences working as part of a group in Germany, she writes of meeting Alex. Alex is the other British woman in the group, and Alex and Natasha are drawn together by their shared experience of having had intense crushes on former teachers. Over the summer, Alex and Natasha develop a very close friendship: might it have the possibility of a sexual element? After they return home, both Alex and Natasha seek to define their sexuality. Many teenagers and young adults would relate to this need to seek and define identity. Most will not become obsessive, fortunately.
At University, Natasha tries to establish her sexual preferences through experimentation with men while exploring the gay community. She also becomes obsessive over Alex, and as Alex starts to move in the direction of her own life Natasha decides to lose weight to make herself more attractive to Alex.

`If only I were thinner, if only I had a proper body, then I would feel I even had the right to try and win Alex back.'

And then begins Natasha's descent into the hell of disordered self- image, of bulimia, of obsession with food and weight. I understand that Natasha's diary was first written in code: I wonder if this assumed privacy enabled her to write so freely of her actions and thoughts? Now, over 20 years later, her thoughts are freed of their encoding and shared. There is a diary entry for most days during this period, and it is painfully clear how Natasha struggled with who she was, her sense of self and where she belonged. Many of her interactions with others are almost interrogations as she tries to seek the information she wants/needs in order to make sense of her world.

'So many thoughts: indifference, excitement, celibacy!'

It's a long time since I've been a teenager but I still had to read this book in relatively small chunks, to avoid being overwhelmed by memories of teenage angst and inadequacy. I knew that Natasha had survived her experience of acute eating disorder, but I knew some who haven't. It's uncomfortable reading, this diary. It stops abruptly, with no sense of what happens next in Natasha's life. And that is the book I really want to read: How Natasha survived and found herself.

`In my room I saw the emptiness of the rest of my whole life. I'd have to start my life all over again--and why bother?'

Note: I was offered, and accepted, a copy of this book from the author for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Obsessive? Compulsive!, April 5, 2012
By 
This review is from: Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder (Kindle Edition)
"The phone rang three times today and each time it was not her."

A book for anyone who has been overwhelmed by the presence - and then the absence - of another person. And who hasn't?

These are diary entries, true events, and yet they have a novelistic precision and a dramatic sense that reveal Natasha Holme as a natural, instinctive writer. She has an eye for telling details, an exact feeling for how much to tell (I'm assuming these diaries are somewhat edited) and a matter-of-fact honesty that keep her voice compelling even when the behaviour she's describing is - frankly - bat-excrement crazy.

We jump into the story without preamble. Natasha and Alex meet, as part of a larger group working in Germany. Everyone will recognise the little things that seem so important when we first feel attracted to someone - the `significant' coincidences, similarities of taste - and there is a definite dramatic and sexual tension in the narrative as it follows the two girls' tentative friendship. But even at this early stage, there is a warning sign: a reference to `beauty' being the opposite of `big'.

The relationship is not consummated in Germany, and the uncertain dance continues, with the protagonists now separated. Natasha announces her intention of losing weight to impress Alex. At this stage Natasha is clearly in a state of heightened romantic and sexual feeling about life as a whole, and seems to be assessing everyone, male and female, in terms of their attractiveness to her. Although thinking constantly about Alex, and still in the throes of a serious crush on an old teacher (she has photos of her blown up and plastered on her walls), Natasha embarks on a programme of sexual experimentation with men, determined to bed five before she next sees Alex. At the same time she is becoming more involved with the Gay and Lesbian society at University, and we see her slightly obsessive tendencies manifesting in her catalogue of what she has learned about one member of the society she finds attractive, a fearlessly `out' lesbian called Vikki. And Natasha's determination to achieve any goal is demonstrated as the deadline for her bedding her five men approaches. These are warning signs of what is to come with her determination to lose weight.

About halfway through the book it starts to become less about Natasha's relationships with people and more about her relationship with food and her weight. I admit I find this less gripping, but it nevertheless has a grimly compelling quality of its own - there were pages I found literally difficult to read as she describes what she does to herself to induce vomiting. The lists of food consumed are of far less interest than the chronicles of sexual and emotional misadventures, but they have their place as a measure of the obsession. And throughout she remains refreshingly honest - as when admitting that she `needs' the male sexual harassment she gets at work to bolster her confidence - and amusingly self aware: "I shall soon be inflicting paralysis by conversation" (as she notes she is talking about food again).

This book is several things - an eye-opener for those of us who have never experienced what `thin=beautiful' can do to someone's self-image, a chronicle of awakening, an examination of the different things we look for in terms of intimacy, and a frankly terrifying description of what a sane and intelligent person can subject themselves to - but most of all it is a crisply-written, honest and unsentimental memoir that will strike many chords in responsive readers of any gender or sexual orientation.

"Hannah the Christian came to visit me at my request. I wish everyone were gay." Without a single wasted word you know everything. Recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Process, July 28, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder (Kindle Edition)
How do you review someone's diary? It's really hard to do. I alternately want to shake the author, and hug her. I found it utterly fascinating and compelling. It's an interesting look at someone discovering their sexuality. I don't really know how to review it but I am glad that Natasha was willing to share her troubles and her life with us.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A book which will lead you to understanding, October 6, 2014
By 
Ignite (East Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder (Kindle Edition)
I doubt I would have picked up this book had it not been a suggested group read. It really didn’t seem to have anything in it to interest me. Once I started, I was unable to stop reading it. The first part of the book, dealing with sexuality and its discovery while the writer was at university, took me back to my own university days. They offered the maximum of temptation and the maximum of opportunity. We see the author’s self-doubt, the attempts at chatting up fellow students of both sexes, and fumbling explorations. It made me aware of something I knew on an intellectual level – that we are all the same whether straight or gay. We are all looking for love and for someone to love in return.

I found the second part of the book, although it was heavily dependent upon the feelings in the first, a bit less of a compelling read. I’m a bit of a foodie and I couldn’t relate to the binge eating and attempts to purge the body afterwards. I found it really interesting that, although the author made herself a strict timetable of days when she ate absolutely nothing and interspersed them with the occasional day when she was ‘allowed’ food, she would dread the food days because she knew she would binge.

The book was simply and grippingly written, coming as it does in the form of a diary. Things were not dwelt upon or fluffed out for effect. The starkness was in many cases the strength of the writing. This is a book which will lead you to understanding.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Lifechanging, November 4, 2013
This review is from: Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder (Kindle Edition)
As a queer person suffering from bulimia from the age of 8 (so 12 years now), I really related to big chunks of this book. My first real lesbian relationship ended at the start of February too, just a few months before I started reading Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia, so the heartache Natasha talks about was not only relatable (who DOESN'T find heartache relatable?) but still fresh. This book tore me down when I was incredibly vulnerable, it was a very hard read, but also one that I wanted to continue forever. And then it helped me to put things back together again, but in a different, slightly healthier way. I came out as queer rather than lesbian (the book made me realise how different the two can be and that both were valid and it was okay for me to ID in whatever way feels right) and after a quick dip into WORSE eating disordered behaviours, I finally confronted my need to recover.

I don't know when I finished the book... August? What I do know is that it's November and I haven't purged for two and a half months. I'm finally getting specialist treatment for my ED and of course that's a big help in recovery, but there were days, particularly at the start of treatment, where I'd leave my session thinking I'd nip into the toilets and purge before my train arrived. Instead I would sit down and read this book and I would be sucked in. I've never identified with a protagonist so much before. Natasha is so honest and maybe this is just my interpretation (which would say more about me than the book!) but I think she makes it very clear how bizarre the logic of an eating disorder is - it's as if you want something (food, normalcy, love) so much that you decide you need to not want it anymore. Of course it then takes an even bigger hold of you. I wouldn't recommend this book to someone who hadn't suffered with an eating disorder. It's the best account of one that I've seen (which is funny, because often the ED parts of the book are pushed aside to make room for the feelings, but I think that's why it's so powerful - the ED is a symptom of something much bigger) but I couldn't recommend it to someone who wouldn't "get" that mindset. The book doesn't walk you through what an eating disorder is and it doesn't sugarcoat the ending and leave you thinking "that's okay then, everything was fine in the end, she snapped out of it" the way a lot of eating disorder memoirs do. It's honest. It's a dose of tough love, a reminder about accountability and it has the potential to knock you off your feet and leave you there or pick up right up afterwards and bandage you up. It's closest to Marya Hornbacher's Wasted, I'd say, with a little sprinkle of The Bell Jar. That's a push though, because it's unlike anything else out there. So often in the queer community, there's talk about the intersection between female partners' bodies and eating disorders. It's something a lot of us struggle with, but nobody wants to formally address it. Reading about it made me finally feel like my feelings were okay and that I could finally overcome them.

I am so thankful for this book. I want to keep on going with recovery so that ten years from now I'll be alive and I'll be able to say that this book saved my life. I feel like it already did more for me than years of therapy, medication and hospitalisation did though - when I feel like dipping deep into my ED again, I think back to how bleak this book got and how bleak my LIFE has been. Natasha's honesty will blow you away, even if it does occasionally hit a nerve.
I will never, ever forget it, and I think writing this has made me convince myself to read it again. Third time! I'm so greatful to Natasha for writing this and I'll sing its/her praises every chance I get.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look at a troubled soul, July 15, 2013
This review is from: Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder (Kindle Edition)
Monday July 15, 2013
Dear Diary (Reader) --
Please don't take what I'm about to say the wrong way, because it is actually a compliment: Reading this was kind of like watching television footage of a plane crash, train wreck or natural disaster. I wanted to "look away" but I just couldn't do it.
However, I will also say just as emphatically that morbid curiosity is not what prompted me to keep reading. This is a fascinating look at a young woman's struggle to find love and acceptance and a painful reminder that we cannot get either from anyone else unless we first find it within ourselves. It is a story about human frailty, obsession and our penchant for self-destruction.
By using diary entries to tell her story, the author lets the reader share in her journey on a deeply personal level and provides interesting narrative technique. Readers also get some insight into what the people in Natasha's life were thinking and doing as her eating disorder spins out of control -- but only from her perspective. While we see who enabled her, who rejected her and who ignored her, we are left to wonder why no one made more than a feeble attempt to help her.
The only quibble I had was with the use of the term "stone" as a weight measurement. Without explanation of exactly how much weight that is, readers outside of the U.K. or other countries where this is (or was) a common measurement may not be able to understand the severity of Natasha's eating disorder.
Overall, a well-told story that must have taken tremendous courage to share. Well done.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Unorganized, April 8, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder (Kindle Edition)
The book is a journal, so you should expect it to be unorganized.
There is no real ending or solution whatsoever. This book is pro-ED, which may be triggering.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone who wants to understand eating disorders, March 25, 2013
This review is from: Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder (Kindle Edition)
I believe that everyone should read this book, or at the very least anyone who knows someone who has struggled with an eating disorder (which is everyone, whether they know it or not.)
Natasha's diary allows us entry into the mind of a young woman attempting to find herself. The fact that she is a lesbian makes growing up so much harder for her, the person that she is, is not a person that those around her can accept. People judge her for being too gay and for not being gay enough. Confused, unable to express her feelings of love she becomes obsessive.

Natasha's diary is very direct, more a series of facts, no flowery prose here. It takes a little while to get used to but ultimately the writing style makes the story even stronger. The bare bones information, emotions expressed as simple statements makes what we read all the more heartbreaking. So many times I just wanted to grab hold of Natasha and shake her, teach her what a balanced diet is. But I know it wouldn't have helped her, that's how it is with eating disorders, logic flies out the window and fixation takes control.

Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired My Eating Disorder is an intense read, with a raw honesty, a splattering of romance and hope and an excellent, truly fitting ending.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars all your dirty laundry i love it!!, February 1, 2013
This review is from: Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder (Kindle Edition)
I loved how raw and truthful this book was it tickled me in parts it was brilliant. The only thing that did my head in was when the book abruptly ends and you don't know whether she continues to struggle with her eating disorder or becomes a fully fledged lesbian or what??? Other than that definitely purchase this book its so fuuny, sad and real. Made me feel like a weird little teenager all over again. x
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.