INNER HUNGER

A YOUNG WOMAN'S STRUGGLE THROUGH ANOREXIA AND BULIMIA

Persuasive in its realism, this brief journal attempts to be a guidebook for the girls and women—and their friends, relatives, and therapists—who suffer from eating disorders. Waking up to the detritus of another night’s bingeing—empty wrappers of “cookies, muffins, granola, bread”’set the author on the road to ending a decade of first starving herself, then bingeing and purging. She vacillated from skeletal (80 pounds) to rotund (160 pounds) as she moved through junior high, high school, college, and into the work world. Apostolides’s bouts of starvation and gluttony were apparently concerned with the issue of stet control, meant to transform herself through sheer willpower into the kind of person she thought her parents and others wanted her to be. Beginning at about 14, she exercised, played sports, got good grades, and virtually stopped eating, hoping she would be admired and accepted as her stellar older brother had been. However, while her peers “were learning what it felt like to explore adolescence, I was learning what it felt like to explore anorexia.” Two years later, she began to experiment with bingeing and then purging, vomiting boxfuls of cereal, packages of cookies, and containers of frozen yogurt eaten at one sitting. She finally did enter therapy, and benefited for awhile, but then plunged back into the binge-purge pattern as college graduation neared. In fits and starts, with the help of the drug ecstasy (she warns of its dangers), an assortment of therapists, a series of lovers, and finally a move from Manhattan to California, she acquired the tools to deal with her disorder, to reconcile with her parents, and to “nurture” herself “in other ways.” Notably straightforward recounting’sans melodrama—of the pain,frustration, and feelings of helplessness experienced by Apostolides and her fellow travelers.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-393-04590-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1998

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Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you...

YEAR OF YES

HOW TO DANCE IT OUT, STAND IN THE SUN AND BE YOUR OWN PERSON

The queen of Thursday night TV delivers a sincere and inspiring account of saying yes to life.

Rhimes, the brain behind hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, is an introvert. She describes herself as a young girl, playing alone in the pantry, making up soap-opera script stories to act out with the canned goods. Speaking in public terrified her; going to events exhausted her. She was always busy, and she didn’t have enough time for her daughters. One Thanksgiving changed it all: when her sister observed that she never said “yes” to anything, Rhimes took it as a challenge. She started, among other things, accepting invitations, facing unpleasant conversations, and playing with her children whenever they asked. The result was a year of challenges and self-discovery that led to a fundamental shift in how she lives her life. Rhimes tells us all about it in the speedy, smart style of her much-loved TV shows. She’s warm, eminently relatable, and funny. We get an idea of what it’s like to be a successful TV writer and producer, to be the ruler of Shondaland, but the focus is squarely on the lessons one can learn from saying yes rather than shying away. Saying no was easy, Rhimes writes. It was comfortable, “a way to disappear.” But after her year, no matter how tempting it is, “I can no longer allow myself to say no. No is no longer in my vocabulary.” The book is a fast read—readers could finish it in the time it takes to watch a full lineup of her Thursday night programing—but it’s not insubstantial. Like a cashmere shawl you pack just in case, Year of Yes is well worth the purse space, and it would make an equally great gift.

Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you did. 

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7709-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2015

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A vibrant, encouraging depiction of a sinister disorder.

REASONS TO STAY ALIVE

A British novelist turns to autobiography to report the manifold symptoms and management of his debilitating disease, depression.

Clever author Haig (The Humans, 2013, etc.) writes brief, episodic vignettes, not of a tranquil life but of an existence of unbearable, unsustainable melancholy. Throughout his story, presented in bits frequently less than a page long (e.g., “Things you think during your 1,000th panic attack”), the author considers phases he describes in turn as Falling, Landing, Rising, Living, and, finally, simply Being with spells of depression. Haig lists markers of his unseen disease, including adolescent angst, pain, continual dread, inability to speak, hypochondria, and insomnia. He describes his frequent panic attacks and near-constant anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure. Haig also assesses the efficacy of neuroscience, yoga, St. John’s wort, exercise, pharmaceuticals, silence, talking, walking, running, staying put, and working up the courage to do even the most seemingly mundane of tasks, like visiting the village store. Best for the author were reading, writing, and the frequent dispensing of kindnesses and love. He acknowledges particularly his debt to his then-girlfriend, now-wife. After nearly 15 years, Haig is doing better. He appreciates being alive and savors the miracle of existence. His writing is infectious though sometimes facile—and grammarians may be upset with the writer’s occasional confusion of the nominative and objective cases of personal pronouns. Less tidy and more eclectic than William Styron’s equally brief, iconic Darkness Visible, Haig’s book provides unobjectionable advice that will offer some help and succor to those who experience depression and other related illnesses. For families and friends of the afflicted, Haig’s book, like Styron’s, will provide understanding and support.

A vibrant, encouraging depiction of a sinister disorder.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-312872-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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