Nearly 20 years after their grueling bout together with mental illness, Becky and her mother revisit Becky's plight in hope of alerting others to the dangers of ""the altar of 105 pounds."" Both are good writers, and the diary format here is enriched by letters and poems from their three years of crisis. Even more arresting than the instructively graphic descriptions of eating disorders are the menaces of bipolar depression. On the edge of her first major breakdown, Becky could rush through four dates in one day, plan to buy and renovate 20-room homes, and tell her mother she was the best water-skier in the country. Why it is hard to get a manic person to take medication becomes abundantly clear: being able to walk on water feels good, and the manic is oblivious to the danger of trying. A consistently engrossing account in which the ups and downs of mental illness in a real family are especially well portrayed (the father is furious over wasted food; in the midst of crisis, mother needs back surgery; siblings are perplexed). Happily, Becky suffered just when effective medications began to come on the scene and eventually got her biochemistry back in control. B&w photos and list for further reading not seen.