Holy Hunger: A Woman's Journey from Food Addiction to Spiritual Fulfillment

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9780375700873: Holy Hunger: A Woman's Journey from Food Addiction to Spiritual Fulfillment
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"A worthwhile tale about true nourishment that comes not from [eating] but from engaging on a spiritual path." --Los Angeles Times

In this wrenchingly honest, eloquent memoir, Bullitt-Jonas describes a childhood darkened by the repressive shadows of her alcoholic father and her emotionally reclusive mother, whose demands for excellence, poise, and self-control drove Bullitt-Jonas to develop an insatiable hunger.

What began with pilfering extra slices of bread at her parents' dinner table turned into binges with cream pies and pancakes, sometimes gaining as much as eleven pounds in four days. When the family urged her father into treatment, the author recognized her own addiction and embarked on the path to recovery by discovering the spiritual hunger beneath her craving for food. Holy Hunger is a brave and perceptive account of compulsion and the healing process.

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The psychology underlying eating disorders is fraught with contradictions and uncertainties; researchers are just beginning to formulate the exact biochemical and emotional combination that impels a woman to binge and purge, or starve herself, or chronically overeat. But the familial forces behind such self-destructive behavior are what Margaret Bullitt-Jonas focuses on in her ultimately graceful memoir, Holy Hunger.

As in 1998's Wasted, where Marya Hornbacher's anorexia, bulimia, and exercise addiction were fueled by her parents' implicit orders to excel, Bullitt-Jonas was born into a family of extreme overachievement. Her father ("the rapscallion, the charmer, the rogue"), a covertly alcoholic English professor at Harvard, and her chronically depressed mother, a trustee at neighboring Radcliffe, maintained a miserable home atmosphere. Her father called her "a failure in life even before you've begun to live." Bullitt-Jonas reacted by addictively overeating in her desperation to sate an emotional hunger she couldn't quite identify.

Holy Hunger is her way of answering the question: "How did my desires go so awry?" She started as a child: "So who knows what I felt, who knows what I was really longing for.... I had no idea what it was--a compulsion, a desire, an unspoken something or other--that caused my small hand to dart out, reach for an extra slice of bread, then slip it quietly, unseen, into my pocket." Bullitt-Jonas's overeating spells through her adolescence and early adulthood are, as expected, devastating. But she manages to save herself through faith in the Higher Power she defers to in her Overeaters Anonymous meetings; her prayers for help; the almost eerie assistance she finds by reading Alice Miller. She transcends her desperation, offering a valuable lesson in the power of spirituality.

From the Publisher:

"A fearlessly honest memoir of addiction and recovery...She infuses this intensely personal account of human frailty with empathy and compassion for all the principals involved in her story."
-- Booklist

"A riveting story...A complex narrative of a stormy passage to adulthood"
--Jill Ker Conway

"Illuminating, heartfelt, wise, and beautifully written"
--Anne Lamott

"It is this 'saying yes to life' that distinguishes Holy Hunger...She offers an example of self-examination that is indeed insightful and instructive...That is a refreshing change from the stale blame game of so many memoirs."
--Alexandra Hall, N.Y. Times Book Review

"Written with honesty and grace that nourish our hearts and deepen our capacity to understand and heal. Exquisitely written and so real, Holy Hunger is a new 'bible' to which I will return again and again."
--Catherine Steiner-Adair, Harvard Eating Disorders Center

"Bullitt-Jonas gives hope to all who struggle with compulsive behavior."
--Dan Wakefield

"Every woman with an eating problem--dare I say every woman?--needs to read this book."
--Susan Bordo, author of Unbearable Weight and Twilight Zones

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A worthwhile tale about true nourishment that comes not from [eating] but from engaging on a spiritual path. --Los Angeles Times In this wrenchingly honest, eloquent memoir, Bullitt-Jonas describes a childhood darkened by the repressive shadows of her alcoholic father and her emotionally reclusive mother, whose demands for excellence, poise, and self-control drove Bullitt-Jonas to develop an insatiable hunger. What began with pilfering extra slices of bread at her parents dinner table turned into binges with cream pies and pancakes, sometimes gaining as much as eleven pounds in four days. When the family urged her father into treatment, the author recognized her own addiction and embarked on the path to recovery by discovering the spiritual hunger beneath her craving for food. Holy Hunger is a brave and perceptive account of compulsion and the healing process. Seller Inventory # AAC9780375700873

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. A worthwhile tale about true nourishment that comes not from [eating] but from engaging on a spiritual path. --Los Angeles Times In this wrenchingly honest, eloquent memoir, Bullitt-Jonas describes a childhood darkened by the repressive shadows of her alcoholic father and her emotionally reclusive mother, whose demands for excellence, poise, and self-control drove Bullitt-Jonas to develop an insatiable hunger. What began with pilfering extra slices of bread at her parents dinner table turned into binges with cream pies and pancakes, sometimes gaining as much as eleven pounds in four days. When the family urged her father into treatment, the author recognized her own addiction and embarked on the path to recovery by discovering the spiritual hunger beneath her craving for food. Holy Hunger is a brave and perceptive account of compulsion and the healing process. Seller Inventory # BTE9780375700873

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A worthwhile tale about true nourishment that comes not from [eating] but from engaging on a spiritual path. --Los Angeles Times In this wrenchingly honest, eloquent memoir, Bullitt-Jonas describes a childhood darkened by the repressive shadows of her alcoholic father and her emotionally reclusive mother, whose demands for excellence, poise, and self-control drove Bullitt-Jonas to develop an insatiable hunger. What began with pilfering extra slices of bread at her parents dinner table turned into binges with cream pies and pancakes, sometimes gaining as much as eleven pounds in four days. When the family urged her father into treatment, the author recognized her own addiction and embarked on the path to recovery by discovering the spiritual hunger beneath her craving for food. Holy Hunger is a brave and perceptive account of compulsion and the healing process. Seller Inventory # AAC9780375700873

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