Where the Monster Weights

An affecting but uneven memoir of addiction and overcoming despair.

A young woman narrates the story of her struggles with anorexia.

In her debut memoir, Weber describes her process of battling—and healing from—anorexia. The account begins when she and her twin brother, Corbin, left their home in Texas and moved with their family to Singapore. Corbin struggled to adjust, acting out and cutting himself. This took its toll on the entire family and left Weber feeling alienated and neglected. Psychologically fragile, she realized that being thin attracted the positive attention she craved. She developed an eating disorder, which slowly and insidiously subsumed her life. The process of acknowledging and managing her disease upended her life as she became an expert at hiding the extent of her starvation from her family and boyfriend; she repeatedly lied to her nutritionist about how much she was (and wasn’t) eating, straining her relationships until her health reached a crisis point. Weber has an important, frightening story to tell, and some of the details she shares are enlightening. For example, she describes the disorder as her “monster,” a voice that constantly undermined her and controlled her thoughts. The prose, however, drifts toward the distractingly florid, especially when describing Weber’s relationship with her boyfriend, Curtis: “I thought I caught a glimpse of a storm cloud on the horizon of our fairy tale’s powder blue skies.” Also distracting are some of the black-and-white photographs that Weber includes of herself and her friends and family; they seem superfluous and remove the reader from the flow of the narrative. The exceptions are the photos that show just how dangerously thin she became.

An affecting but uneven memoir of addiction and overcoming despair.

Pub Date: May 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5043-2940-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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