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Captivating Memoir for those Trying to Understand Living With an ED

"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."
Marya Hornbacher reports in her book, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia. 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.

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.

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. She doesn’t though, and her story of recovery is both powerful and comforting.