WHY ARE THEY STARVING THEMSELVES? by Elaine Landau

WHY ARE THEY STARVING THEMSELVES?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Landau's profiles of anorectics and bulimics combine general description with case studies. These reinforce each other, and the case studies are more convincingly real than many. She describes the anorectic, a bright and attractive teenage girl from a fairly affluent family, in terms of the ""perfect little girl syndrome"": overly submissive, swallowing her anger and stifling her own development, feeling in control at last when she stops eating and loses weight. The mothers of these girls, often professional women who have given up their careers for their families, tend to be supermoms, proud of the home they have provided, vain, and concerned with appearances. Those suffering from bulimia, the binge-purge syndrome, tend to be somewhat older than typical anorectics; they have low self-esteem, are dependent and insecure, also deny their feelings, turn to food in reaction to stress, and then vomit to avoid weight gain. Landau ends with descriptions and addresses of treatment centers. Anorectics, who typically deny their problem, are unlikely to seek help, but their friends might make some use of the information. For whomever, the descriptions are sound and the cases--a 17-year-old anorectic who practiced dancing almost around the clock and finally collapsed when down to 64 pounds; a bulimic who vomited up to 20 times a day and ate constantly, with one snack of seven candy bars, two packages of potato chips, several cans of Coke, a double ice cream cone, and a packed quart of ice cream followed by a full-course Chinese meal--have drawing power.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1982
Publisher: Messner