When I was in the throes of my eating disorder, I cleaned the library out of every eating disorder memoir I could possibly find. Admittedly, I wanted to become an even better anorectic than The Best Little Girl in the World and treated these books much like pro-ana sites for tips and tricks on how to lose even more weight.
But I was also desperately lonely and isolated. When the insanity first became too much, the fact that I had an eating disorder never even occurred to me. I thought I was too fat to have one. Books like Marya Hornbacher’s Wasted, and especially Wasted, provided me with much-needed solidarity and the reassurance that I wasn’t alone… that I wasn’t insane… that they were others who were once just like me and they recovered.
Wasted became my security blanket, always within grasp. I’d read and reread it on the bus ride to and from work each day, the corners dog-eared, passages highlighted and pages tear-stained. Once, when I thought I lost my copy, I rushed out and purchased a new one, only to find the old copy days later under my bed. Words alone cannot express the comfort Hornbacher’s eloquently penned memoir did for me.
Which is why I was so excited to see she has a new book coming out next year. Kudos to Charlynn for the pointer.
Marya’s new memoir Madness: A Life (Houghton Mifflin) is an intense, beautifully written book about the difficulties, and promise, of living with mental illness. It is already being called “the most visceral, important book on mental illness to be published in years.” It will be published in April of 2008.
Hornbacher also released her first fiction book a year or so ago, The Center of Winter. It has absolutely nothing to do with eating disorders, but it’s chock-full of the beautiful, poignant type writing seen in Wasted.