This is not a "How To" manual for overcoming compulsions. It is, rather, a brutally honest memoir of the struggle of one individual against a series of compulsions. At first, I was surprised to see how much of the content did not directly relate to either anorexia or exercise bulimia. However, each life experience presented by the author gives another clue to the psychological makeup of a person plagued by this category of disorders. From his phobia of cities whose streets are not laid out according to rectangular grids, to his sudden and unexpected Facebook competition (unknown to the other person), each new compulsive behavior is another piece of the puzzle that makes up the person of the author.
The worst vices are those which begin as virtues. And nearly all of Erlandson's compulsive behaviors had some rational and salutary origin. On one level, this can be seen as the triumphant story of a former "fat kid" who used an immense amount of self-discipline to achieve nearly super-human feats as a runner. But there was a cost. A huge toll was taken on those closest to Erlandson (most especially his wife, who at more than one point threatened to leave him) and upon his relationships with friends and colleagues.
I spent half the book yelling at Erlandson: "You idiot! How could you think of doing that!" The other half I spent thinking to myself, "Man, I'm just exactly like that."
I suppose that I naively expected some "Deus ex Machina" deliverance from all of the author's compulsions after he embraced the Christian faith. But no such immediate and complete deliverance was manifested. Rather, in its place, there was the daily struggle for him to continue to do the things that made sense to him without driving those around him mad. It is not an easy thing.
(For those who would avoid this book because of Erlandson's Christian worldview, I can assure you that the "God talk" never becomes heavy handed. The book is equally accessible to believer and non-believer.)
As one who has struggled with exercise bulimia and other compulsions, I loved this book. It is rare to find a read that is honest and open with every detail. Erlandson provides a great deal of detail to what was going on in his life during which his compulsions flared the worst. It is helpful to know that there are others out there who deal with excercise bulimia. Much is written on bulimia on its own, but not this specific form which is very different than the "traditional" bulimics read about in other areas.
The author describes in detail how he has gained, then lost, then gained, and lost again via excercise as a major reason (along with food control) and the impulse control he has sought throughout. Of course my hope would be that he'd have the "answer" for me on how to gain control of my own impulses, but alas that is such an individual answer. The hope I gained in reading this, however, is that while it may never "go away" on this side of life, there is hope even in living with it. (Please do not misunderstand...anorexia and bulimia can kill you in its extreme forms...please seek help in these cases!) But I also know that excercise bulimia kills your soul (from experience I know this) and can injur your body (again I know from experience and have a chronic nerve injury in my foot that will never go away due to overexercise.)
However, please note: This is NOT a depressing book nor a book that seeks to show you the way to healing; however, it is an honest look at one man's life with his experiences. When I read this, that is what I needed...to know I was not alone. That gave me enough hope to keep on. If you need a read that you can relate to, this is the one for you! It's also so refreshing, by the way, to be written by a man. So much of the bulimic/anorexic books point only to women. Men suffer too.
This book is so well-written and intense I couldn't put it down. It reads more like a suspense thriller than a marathon runner's memoir. The author is cruelly honest reporting all the heart-wrenching events that changed his life and his outlook. Although admittedly I don't have much in common with the author, I found his story of self-growth extremely uplifting and inspirational - exactly what I needed to change my own outlook. If you have a personal problem gnawing at you - not necessarily an eating disorder, it can be anything - you might find your answers here.
The author is so honest about his struggles. This book is clearly written and very detailed. The author seems like a good person who has been overwhelmed by his obsessions and compulsions, though he does get somewhat better over time. I thought his story was quite interesting, and I recommend it.
WOW! This book is the story of a man on a rollercoaster ride into hell. I applaud the author for sharing his story. It must have been difficult to write this. The soul searching must have brought up many raw emotions.
I found this book to be a book I couldn't put down(which is unusual for me)! I could relate to a lot of things the Author was talking about in this book. A very good read for anyone. Would highly recommend it to anyone!