Wasted by Marya Hornbacher

I have read this book before, and rereading it, I picked up many things that I had missed during the first read.  This impressed me, as when rereading a book, I often put it down after a few pages because I think “oh, I read this already.”  This time I thought, “Oh, I remember this part” and was thankful.

Marya suffers first from Bulimia and then later from Anorexia Nervosa, and beautifully explains her transition between the diseases, her moments of success, and her moments of failure.  She writes of how these diseases develop, progress, and her own thoughts while she slowly starved herself to death.  She discusses all the typical topics– relationships with therapists, parents, friends, issues of abandonment, issues of consumerism, issues with death– but handles each in a unique way that helps you to truly understand how a person could simply say “I deny myself nurishment.”

She speaks of being scared, and to me, that strikes home the hardest as one deals with a physical or mental illness.  It is fear of the unknown that makes everything that much worse, and in anorexia, the sufferer knows the ultimate outcome of the disease- get better or die.  It opens the reader’s eyes to understanding that it’s not just as simple as “getting better,” but rather, defeating your own demons as well as the demons that surround you.

This book is not for the feint of heart.  She writes candidly.  But if you ever wondered or witnessed the progression of this disease (or any mental or physical disease), Marya narrates it well.  It is a good read for understanding how fear truly can dictate or life and actions.

2 Responses to “Wasted by Marya Hornbacher”

  1. Hi Christine- I think I read this book awhile ago, does she talk about how a person is “anorextic” not “anorexic”? A point she made about the English language and a point that I think also illustrated how, so often, people who suffer from Eating Disorders also suffer from perfectionism. So through the whole book she used this form of the word, even though most of her audience had probably never heard of it. But now, I can no longer use it in the “wrong” tense. It was a good read in part because of her writing style and also her honesty. Thanks for the review.

  2. Yes, this is that book. She speaks of her need to be perfectionist quite frequently, and even ends the book talking about it because in her to be perfect, she tries hard not to be perfect, trying to be perfectly normal. But this just supports the book that much more in its desire to show the wackiness of the disorder.

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