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Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (January 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060858796
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (514 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"I fell for the great American dream, female version, hook, line, and sinker," Marya Hornbacher writes. "I, as many young women do, honest-to-God believed that once I Just Lost a Few Pounds, suddenly I would be a New You, I would have Ken-doll men chasing my thin legs down with bouquets of flowers on the street, I would become rich and famous and glamorous and lose my freckles and become blond and five foot ten." Hornbacher describes in shocking detail her lifelong quest to starve herself to death, to force her short, athletic body to fade away. She remembers telling a friend, at age 4, that she was on a diet. Her bizarre tale includes not only the usual puking and starving, but also being confined to mental hospitals and growing fur (a phenomenon called lanugo, which nature imposes to keep a body from freezing to death during periods of famine). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-Eating disorders are frequently written about but rarely with such immediacy and candor. Hornbacher was only 23 years old when she wrote this book so there is no sense of her having distanced herself from the disease or its lingering effects on her. This, combined with her talent for writing, gives readers a real sense of the horror of anorexia and bulimia and their power to dominate an individual's life. The author was bulimic as a fourth grader and anorexic at age 15. She was hospitalized several times and institutionalized once. By 1993 she was attending college and working as a journalist. Her weight had dropped to 52 pounds and doctors in the emergency room gave her only a week to live. She left the hospital, decided she wanted to live, then walked back and signed herself in for treatment. This is not a quick or an easy read. Hornbacher talks about possible causes for the illnesses and describes feeling isolated, being in complete denial, and not wanting to change or fearing change, until she nearly died. Young people will connect with this compelling and authentic story.
Patricia Noonan, Prince William Public Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Marya Hornbacher is an award-winning journalist and bestselling writer. Her books include the memoirs Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, which has been published in twelve languages, and the New York Times bestseller Madness: A Bipolar Life; the recovery books Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the Twelve Steps, and Waiting: A Nonbeliever's Higher Power; and the novel The Center of Winter. She teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Northwestern University and lives in Chicago.

Customer Reviews

I would recommend this book to anyone suffering with an eating disorder.
Marya Hornbacher gives a very candid account of what her life was like growing up with bulimia.
Although not an easy one, it's also a really well written book to read just like that.
Valter Gorenc

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Kali on June 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is not a sentimental book about a girl who finds out she has an eating disorder and over comes it against all odds. It's not a feel good book in any sense of the word.

The author is aware that she she still is a prisoner to her illness but what she has done is come to terms with it; Anorexia and Bulimia are still millstones around her neck but this book is her way of dealing with this burden.

Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher is not an easy book to read, not because the author makes the subject she is talking about complex, rather it is a brutally honest picture into a life governed by eating, puking, starving, eating, starving, puking, a vicious in which there seems to be no escape.

The author looks carefully into her childhood, her teenage years, her adult life, her relationship with her volatile family, her own detachment from herself as a woman in a man's world.

I couldn't read this book in one sitting, I had to do it in stages, it is powerful stuff, I have an eating disorder, and I can relate to some of the thing Marya is saying, especially about how you fit your sickness to suit your life and how you learn to be devious, to hide if from those around you, how the lies you tell are lies that you want to believe and so they become the truth.

This is another book that we should give teenage girls to read because I think that it just might sway some of them from taking the road that Marya took and barely survived going down.

An incredible, disgusting, compulsive, painful, and totally addictive read about a subject most of us would rather avoid if we could.
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218 of 241 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
First of all, I would like to say that I really loved Marya's very candid and real way of writing. She didn't candy-coat or tip-toe --- she told the truth. And she told it very well. My warning though is that, as someone who has struggled for a long time with an eating disorder myself, many of us with ED's have considered "Wasted" to be a how-to guide for starting/maintaining an ED. Be careful. If you are vulnerable even a little bit, please save this read for a later, more stable time in your life/recovery. I do think it is a good eye-opener for parents and other loved ones of someone battling an ED. Not only does it supply the many, many twisted and secretive symptomatic behaviors we tend to engage in, but it also gives a very honest look at the emotions and issues behind the disorder. It's not about the food, or the weight, or the size. It's just a mask for something much more severe. We've had to resort to using our bodies to communicate instead of our voices. We lost our voice somewhere along the way, and the body became our target.
I don't feel the book itself is inherently bad or dangerous or whatever. I do, however, recommend EXTREME caution and consideration before reading this. Be careful. Be wise.
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read this book a few times and had mixed reactions. I have been hospitalized twice for anorexia at the same hospital as Marya went to, and her experiences are brutally honest and true-to-life. Anyone wanting to understand anorexia or bulimia ought to read this book. Her quotes about how much she hated the bulimia episodes and how anorectics view bulimics are usually right on (although as both an anorectic and a bulimic, I have found quite a few exceptions to her "rule." I still suffer greatly from the two disorders, and it is refreshing to get someone's voice out there.
One CAUTION, however: If you suffer from an eating disorder, be very careful in reading this book. I have needed to put it down quite a few times because it was too intense for me, and I have been triggered by it quite a few times. But if you want to know what is going on inside your loved one's head, remember that everyone is different so do not assume he/she feels like Marya does, but also bear in mind that Marya has been through a lot of the same stuff that many people with ED's go through.
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Format: Paperback
I am a psychologist who has worked at a college counseling center for the past 15 years. While I was reading this book, the question that kept going through my mind was "how could this happen?" Author Marya Hornbacher, who writes of her history of both anorexia and bulimia, insists that her experience was not particularly "unusual," saying that she was "sicker than some, not as sick as others." Whereas the latter might be the case, I certainly did find many aspects of Hornbacher's illness to be unusual, starting with her development of bulimia at an extremely young age (nine). Even more surprising, however, was that when at age 15, Hornbacher added starvation to her disordered eating repertoire, eventually becoming anoretic, NO ONE noticed--not her parents, not her friends (many of whom were eating disordered themselves), not even the health care professionals at the boarding school that Hornbacher was attending (who lets a 15 year old with a history of alcohol and drug abuse go away on her own to boarding school anyway?).

And that is just the beginning of Hornbacher's definitely atypical journey. Eventually, she does get treatment, although she has to leave the treatment center prematurely when her insurance runs out (which unfortunately is NOT atypical). Inexplicably--again--Hornbacher's parents then let her move halfway across the country to stay with friends of the family and finish high school, and while there--not surprisingly--Hornbacher relapses. Once again, however, I was stunned how those around Hornbacher were oblivious; even the health/mental health professionals in change of her care were easily fooled to believe that she was following her treatment plan as prescribed despite her obviously radical weight loss.
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