Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulima

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9780002558808: Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulima
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A `retired career anorexic' examines herself and her, and our, culture in a masterpiece of confessional literature.At the age of four Marya Hornbacher looked in a mirror and decided she was fat. At nine, she was bulimic. At twelve, she was anorexic. By the time she was eighteen, she'd been hospitalized five times, once in the loony bin. Her doctors and her parents had given up on her; they were watching her die. But Marya decided to live. Four years on, now 22, here is her harrowing tale, powerfully told in a virtuoso mix of memoir, cultural criticism and psychological examination.Here is the amazingly articulate fury of a clever woman made stupid by her culture, who threw away her teenage years in a continuous cycle of bingeing and vomiting or just plain starvation.The first book to explore, from the inside, the intimate relationship between eating disorders and 1990s culture's historically unprecedented obsession with body, diet and gender; not a testimony to a miracle cure, but the story of one woman's travels to the darker side of reality, and her decision to find her way back, on her own terms.`Hornbacher is articulate, clever, and has all the persuasive zeal of a convert, furious at the pressures that made her what she was. Paradoxically, her painful journey is also gripping and...dare one say it....entertaining in a way that no fiction could ever be. A compulsive read.' Publishing News; `A gritty unflinching look at eating disorders written from the raw disintegrated centre of young pain with stark candour and power.' New York Times* The slimming industry is worth GBP1billion in GB alone* The UK has 3.5 million anorexics and bulimics

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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).

From the Inside Flap:

Precociously intelligent, imaginative, energetic, and ambitious, Marya Hornbacher grew up in a comfortable middle-class American home. At the age of five, she returned home from ballet class one day, put on a enormous sweater, curled up on her bed, and cried--because she thought she was fat. By age nine she was secretly bulimic, throwing up at home after school, while watching Brady Bunch reruns on television and munching Fritos. She added anorexia to her repetoire a few years later and took great pride in her ability to starve.

Marya's story gathers intensity with each passing year. By the time she is in college and working for a wire news service in Washington, D.C., she is in the grip of a bout of anorexia so horrifying that it will forever put to rest the romance of wasting away. Down to fifty-two pounds and counting, Marya becomes a battlefield: her powerful death instinct at war with the will to live.

Why would a talented young girl go through the looking glass and step into a netherworld where up is down, food is greed, and death is honor? Why enter into a love affair with hunger, drugs, sex, and death? Marya sustained both anorexia and bulimia through five lengthy hospitalizations, endless therapy, the loss of family, friends, jobs, and, ultimately, any sense of what it means to be "normal." In this vivid, emotionally wrenching memoir, she recreates the experience and illuminates the tangle of personal, family and cultural causes unlying eating disorders.

Wasted is the story of one woman's travels to the darker side of reality, and her decision to find her way back again--on her own terms.

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