Over the past year, I’ve read several eating disorder books-both fiction and non-fiction. Some are kind of triggering, while others have been genuinely helpful and supportive in my recovery. Obviously, we all have different triggers and different preferences, so what I like may not be something that you would like.
I am only reviewing the nonfiction books that I have read. I find that the fictional books (such as Wintergirls) are really triggering and are primarily used as “how-to” guides to maintaining and worsening eating disorders. I do not find them inspirational, helpful, or useful for the recovery process. Honestly, I kind of see them as being similar to pro-ana websites. I wouldn’t ever recommend them, but that is just my personal opinion.
This book is a memoir by a woman whose recovery journey has taken many years. This book tells the story of how eating disorders actually are without sugar-coating things. I don’t considered myself to be easily triggered, but something about this book rubbed me the wrong way. I found it to turn on my “competitive” eating disorder voice. Based off of the reviews I read online, I found I wasn’t the only one who found that this book to be a not so good influence. The memoir definitely leaves nothing out, and I admire Marya’s strength as she fights through her struggles. I would not recommend this for someone who has a history of eating disorders. It might, however, be an insightful read for family or friends of someone who is struggle with an eating disorder.
I recently finished reading this, and I have to say that I found this book to be insanely inspirational. The book focuses a lot on the personality traits of those with eating disorders. I can relate to so much of what Liu says about “typical” anorexics. I absolutely love this book, and found comfort in knowing that these compulsive thought patterns that I have are not something “wrong” about myself. Instead, I just need to watch for these an accept that I will probably always think like an “anorexic”. This is extremely helpful, especially for someone who is already weight restored and dealing feeling lost after their eating disorder is no longer a physical part of their identity. This has been my FAVORITE recovery book I have read.
Portia De Rossi, for those of you who do not know, is the wife of Ellen DeGeneres. This is Portia’s memoir telling the story of her eating disorder and childhood. I found it really interesting to learn about the social events in Portia’s life and her childhood, because she is a celebrity that I did not know much about prior to reading the book. But for those who are looking for a recovery-inspirational book, I would not recommend you read this. It gives detailed accounts of her struggle with her eating disorder, but it doesn’t provide insightful advice or hope for recovery. While I didn’t find it to be a major trigger, I could definitely feel my “competitive” ED side rev up while reading this. I would recommend this book to those who do not have histories of eating disorders but who want to learn more about the mindset behind someone who is struggling.
This book offers genuine support while leaving out the details that we already know. It focuses mostly on the recovery and post-recovery processes, without going into possibly triggering details. I think that this book would be especially helpful for someone who is questioning whether long-term recovery is possible. I know that a lot of us fear relapse and whether or not we will be able to get these demons out of us. One of my favorite aspects of the book was the tools that the author gives to help aid the recovery process. I feel like this book is helpful at any stage in recovery, or even to someone who is not currently in recovery, but thinking about it. If professional treatment is not possible for you right now, this book will help give you some tools that might be recommended by eating disorder therapists and dietitians. It wasn’t my favorite book, but definitely is a positive and recovery-focused read.
This book is a memoir written by Nikki Grahame. Unlike many of the memoirs that I have read, this book does an amazing job at balancing the harsh realities of eating disorders without excessively triggering details. The end of the book really inspired me to help work on my own recovery, and definitely gives a sense of hope. The book doesn’t sugar-coat recovery, but something about this memoir in particular was less triggering than the others I have read. I recommend this to someone who is in the process of recovery who is looking for a book that they can relate to. If you are easily triggered or at a vulnerable point in you recovery process, I would maybe set this book aside for the time being.
I have seen books that are targeted to parents of eating disordered children, I have seen written books for people struggle with eating disorders themselves, but very few that are targeted to both. It was very interesting for me to read about a mother who documents her daughter’s battle, because my own mother doesn’t really like to talk about my eating disorder. It helped open my eyes to see how this has effected my entire family. I was definitely inspired to pursue my own recovery after reading this memoir. I really admire the way this family took a very hands-on approach to treatment. Personally, I would love to go back to a hospital because I feel like my ed is illegitimate because I am not inpatient. Which is so disordered. This book, however, helps empathize with families trying to work on recovery while at home. I would recommend this book to eating disorder sufferers and their families at any stage of recovery. I definitely think that this would be especially helpful for someone who is working on their recovery at home as opposed to in a more structured facility like IOP.