Anorexia nervosa was recently novelized clearly and quietly, if without much imaginative flair, in Steven Levenkron's The Best Little Girl in the World (p. 767). Here that self-starvation mental disease is just one confused aspect of craziness in the diary of German-born Londoner Elaine Kampe, who hates sex and is addicted to laxative pills in huge quantities. Nice Dr. Blair persuades 77-pound Elaine to enter Greenwood, a voluntary asylum where two weeks of semi-narcosis are needed to keep Elaine from her triple obsession: pills, alcohol, and her masochistic friend Liz's razor-blades. Though this procedure apparently saves Elaine from starvation and gets her in shape for life on the outside, it convinces her that Greenwood is ""a place with a vicious dehumanizing processing apparatus at its center."" She disengages herself from her possessive mother, gets a job in publishing, and resumes her life with her loyal boyfriend James (something of a freaky martyr), but soon the laxative pills are back, along with other drugs; and then Elaine jumps out the window. She survives and suddenly finds salvation--by meeting wonderful Emma and by realizing that psychiatrists are madmen and that husbands are sexual oppressors. ""I wasn't going to be lulled into submission again. I had finished with the past."" Does Havekamp really want us to believe that Elaine's vast problems--we get glimpses of her skewed childhood--can be remedied by feminist/radical dogma? The point of view here is murky, like just about everything else in this intermittently harrowing but often artily pretentious lament; and that murkiness keeps this first novel from being either clinically informative or dramatically coherent.