From Publishers Weekly
Shedding light on anorexia and other eating disorders, Taylor gathers the personal stories of a range of writers, producing an occasionally inspiring but repetitive collection. Though gifted contributors (Jennifer Egan, Louise Glück, Joyce Maynard) offer honest, occasionally insightful accounts, many are is a strikingly similar; most can remember day they began their dark journey into anorexia and/or bulimia with striking clarity. Most see anorexia as a chronic affliction, shaping their relationships with food and loved ones, but in no way precluding happy, fulfilling lives. Powerful moments come from Amanda Fortini, medical writer Trisha Gura (who meshes her story with insight into the latest theories on anorexia) and John Nolan, but Taylor's collection is decidedly WASP-heavy: tales of ivy league schools, living abroad in Italy, auditioning for prominent ballet schools and living up to the expectations of glamorous, high-profile parents do little to deflect the stereotype of anorexia as an affliction of affluence. Still, those struggling with an eating disorder are sure to find among these personal essay at least one that will help them better understand their own condition, and provide company and hope (if not necessarily a plan for recovery).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Edited by New York Sun reporter Taylor, this topical anthology showcases nearly 20 authors’ struggles with anorexia nervosa. The contributors include novelist Jennifer Egan, poet Louise Glück, and former New York Times reporter Joyce Maynard. Each author delineates his or her own personal battle with the disease, but by the fifteenth story, they begin to meld into a chorus. Young and old, men and women, all are included, and together they provide telling glimpses into the struggles of anorexics. The writing seems to be therapeutic for many, including Francine du Plessix Gray, who penned a bitter open letter to her deceased parents. Maura Kelly tells of her blue-collar widower father’s difficulty coping with her disorder as he tried to support and raise his family alone. Amanda Fortini discusses our obsession with thinness and the reactions of men and women to her weight loss after she acquired a parasite on a trip to Brazil. Each author provides a unique, often disquieting perspective on an increasingly common disease. --Katherine Boyle