Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Waster; A memoir of anorexia and bulimia by Marya Hornbacher

This was obviously a very close to heart book for myself, and they do seem to have become a bit of a fascination. Perhaps because I hope that they will help me to understand myself and the behaviours that I have. Other times though it is because the story is interesting and shows just how widely spread out this mental illness truly is. But for me this was a very personal story as the author talked more about her experience and life with bulimia, the battles that she had to go through and the complications that it put on her life. See, with most biographys on eating disorders, they tend to be written about anorexia, but to read one about bulimia was interesting and really opened my eyes a little bit to myself and what the illness is actually like. her story though is actually very tragic because it starts from a very young age which is heartbreaking in itself. How could a child that small even know how to deal with bulimia, even know what it is in order to get the idea of trying it in there minds. I suppose though when I think about it.... we don't just get that idea, its just something that sort of springs to life of its own accordance.

Yet looking at her family lifestyle it was almost typical that she too would develop an eating disorder. Her mother was thin and barely ate a thing. Was telling her that she could do with losing some weight herself and always seemed to look down on her. Her father ate but was always talking about needing to go on a diet, needing to loose the tummy that he had built up and her grandmother was always telling her that she was fat and if she ate the way she did she would only get fatter. A family like that, its hard not to get an eating disorder really. So it does wrench at your heart, especially when they don't seem to be very understanding parents who want to help her out, who instead only seem to get angry and upset with her as she relapses over and over again.

But for Marya, her illness seems to be a lot more than just an eating disorder. She is drinking, taking drugs, sleeping around with guys and many other things that are not natural. It seems almost as if she has taken on every mental illness or addiction that she can think off, yet you can see in her words that it is ruining her life, that beneath the skin that struggles, there is a girl who wants to be free. And this is something that I think many sufferers deal with. We want to be the person that we were born to be and have grown up to believe we could be, but something has a greater hold and now we are stuck in a web made of superglue. Her story is very tragic and bold, she tells it honestly and openly and yet I find myself getting annoyed with her aswell.

It is the tragic problem of being offered support, not wanting it and going against it and then doing as they want you to do, only to be released and to start the same old ritual again. I suppose in this sense it does make the book triggering. Your thoughts as you read it are "what is the point of getting better when your only going to relapse at the end of it...". and I suppose it is here where you need to remember that your recovery is different. this is something you want to do. She was sectioned and she had no choice. yopu went in voluntary and have chosen to make the change so you can have the better life. She does write with a very graphic truth and that really makes the book gripping and frustrating. you watch her go through so many battles, wondering why no one is stopping her sooner, why does it seem and feel as if they are allowing her to be the anorexic and bulimc who struggles with more than just food.

Unfortunately though, unlike most of the books where you get to read at the end that they are recovering or have recovered, you don't in this one. She hasn't recovered and she doesn't seem to be recovering either. To me it was an eye opener, enough to make me realize just how controlling an eating disorder is. And it made me question, was it her writing the novel or was it the demons or was it both. There was just a lot in there that really.... well in some senses seemed to glorify the eating disorder. there were parts in the novel that wanted me to be thinner because that is what culture expects, or so she says.....

it was a difficult and challenging book to read. Perhaps one that is not so good for someone still suffering from an eating disorder because it doesnt seem to provide hope at all.

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