Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Brave Girl Eating by Harriet Brown

This was a very personal and helpful book for myself and it is one that I am glad to have picked up and read. Being anorexic you tend to get so stuck in how the diesease is affecting you, that you forget about the other people around you that have to live with it as well. But its not as if there are many books out there written by those living with the disease, most of them are written by the sufferers who are representing there discovery and there recovery, which whilst helpful, still doesnt give you that much depth and insight into the totality of the illness. However this book is written by the mother of a daughter who has anorexia and she shows the battler, strife and journey that they have to go through. It shows hard times and good times, the lows and the highs and all the different solutions that they came across, some of which worked and others which didnt. At first I was a little closed minded about the novel as I wasn't sure that I was really going to benefit from it. After all, am I not the one suffering from the illness, so am I therefore not the one who should know about it? Yet this book proved to me that there was still so much more that I didnt know. Things that I didnt know about myself, or the illness or even the way it was actually affecting my family, those who I love and treasure the most.

In many ways, this book for me was an eye opener and a heart grasper. It showed me that the way I had been acting was all for a reason, it wasn't just me being stupid or seeking for attention. It was all for a logical reason, one that perhaps is complicated to overcome. However the mum who writes the book is amazing and she made me smile in so many ways, as well as reminding me of my own mum. She shows that sometimes we have to fight battles as a family, but that there will always be someone who is hurt more, who feels left out and is angry with the battle itself, questioning why it has even had to happen and exist. She goes into a lot of detail about the research she has done, and usually that is the sort of thing that bores me, but this time it interested me because she wrote about it in a way that I could understand. It was almost as if the mother was wanting both the family and the sufferer to understand the information, because a huge problem with most self help books is that they are so full of jargon and information that is hard to understand. However, Hasrriet writes with a huge sense of reality, and it is clear that she is writing from her heart and her personality, she wants the reader to really connect, she wants the reader to see and realize that this is a serious problem and that its not just her daughter who is going through it.

In many ways you could say that the author is challenging the stereotypes and discriminations that are placed on those suffering from an eating disorder. In her book she makes it very clear that the support avalible to those suffering from eating disorders is not wide enough and usually not efficent or safe enough for them. But what she really points out is that there isnt much support for the families either and they usually get the blame for the anorexia or bulimia having developed in the first place. I think that this is a real eye opening novel that has truly made me challenge my own eating disorder. But more importantly it has made me look at my family more closely, because the problem with the illness is that it is selfish and I have not realized the effects that it has on my family!!

A problem though that I find alot with the books on anorexia and bulimia is that they talk about the calorie content and weight increase, or decrease. They display the numbers, write what it is that they are eating and for any person already suffering from the illness this can be a huge trigger. it makes the anorexic voice speak up loud and clear, makes the sufferer think, hey perhaps this is a good idea after all. But Brave girl eating does not make anorexia or bulimia seem like a good idea. It shows and represents that it is a battle that tears the sufferer apart and pulls them away from there family. It shows how hard it can be to overcome and yet she writes about how worthwhile it is. Not once is she fake in her writing and her words touch your heart. It was a truly amazing and helpful book and it is one that I would recommend to all sufferers and there parents. Because even though it is aimed at the parents, I feel it is important that the sufferers understand what its like for those around them as well.

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