A teen girl gives readers an intimate close-up of her eating disorder through her journal writing.
This novel, based on Khalil’s actual journal, begins when she’s 14 and travels through four years of her agonizing struggle with anorexia nervosa. There is a tyrant in her head whom she has named Ed. His voice appears in italics as he tells Danah she’s too fat, that she’s lazy and weak. “Please understand,” he wickedly reminds her, “I only want what is best.” The grip Ed has on her is relentless and exhausting, as he insists on an obsessive daily exercise regimen, on calorie counting, and on menu planning. Even when her weight drops below 100 pounds and she begins an outpatient program, Danah keeps the presence of her demon a secret. After treatment, Ed’s stranglehold lessens, but his strength returns and Danah surrenders once again. Danah describes her outrage at the ubiquitous triggers: media, magazines, even well-meaning parents who cautioned her against carbs. Her voice is authentic and visceral. The journal entries are sprinkled with poems, often haiku, and fold in helpful resources, including a short list of topical books and symptoms of eating disorders. The roller coaster of emotions and weight fluctuations becomes repetitious, but the gut-wrenching reality of Danah’s situation is unforgettably powerful.
This brave revelation is a young anorexic’s heart laid bare. (Fiction. 12-17)