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News & Views - July, 2001 Issue #83

Book Review

A Body To Die For
An e-book on eating disorders
based on personal experiences and research

By Keisha Lett
www.booklocker.com - PDF format and paperback
www.amazon.com - paperback
[Also can be special ordered through Barnes & Noble ISBN # 1931391246]

Reviewed by Kristie Vollar, Referral Assistant

Anorexia Nervosa is a serious disease most commonly, though not always, witnessed in women, often affecting teenage girls. The media has portrayed that the female is supposed to be skinny in order to be popular, accepted, loved, to appear smart or even to be the one who gets the attention. These false images often cause girls to under-eat or not eat at all, while compulsively exercising to get and maintain “A body to die for.”

The e-book, A Body To Die For, by Keisha Lett, is written by and about a girl with this disease. Christina Brendle suffers from severe anorexia, to the point of starving herself of water to loose the dreaded weight. After having lived with some girls with mild to severe eating disorders, it is apparent to me that this author knows what she is talking about, and bases this book on her own experience. I get the sense that Christina is severely “acting out” her eating disorder. The depressing day to day events in her life, the compulsions with food, water, and diuretics, the constant battle to sabotage successes so that her life looks bleak; these are all signs.

The story line is so sad and depressing that you dread opening the e-book, but you feel like you can’t close it once you start reading. Not only do you want to keep reading it to find out if anything will change for the better, you want to reach into the computer screen and shake Christina back into her senses. Even when her friends essentially die of starvation and dehydration from their obsession with losing weight, she doesn’t realize that she needs help. This is a consistent pattern; an anorexic usually will not realize this by herself. As you read this e-book, you can’t help but wonder what could have happened to Christina to cause her eating disorder to become so severe that it eventually could kill her too.

A sad thing about anorexia that is reinforced by this e-book is that girls are sneaky and able to hide their disorders. Usually parents don’t see the warning signs or pay attention until the girls have wasted away to practically nothing and need to be hospitalized.

This e-book is written in journal form, describing the day-to-day events and thought processes of a teenage girl with severe anorexia, which may be helpful for parents who suspect their child is “acting out” an eating disorder. The journal entries reinforce Christina’s feelings of depression, demonstrating the ways she sabotages successes and happiness in order to seclude herself, when what she seems to want most is attention and acceptance from others.

I believe this e-book is well written, giving much insight into the thought processes of severe anorexia. I also believe that there comes a time when enough is enough; either the girl gets the help she desperately needs, or she dies. Hopefully the parents realize what is going on before it’s too late, as in this book when Christina is admitted into a treatment center. At first when I read this e-book, I read to discover what miraculous event would snap her out of her erratic depression. But anorexia, especially severe anorexia, doesn’t work that way. When it finally became so serious that Christina needed hospitalization, I then read to see how treatment would help her gain strength to recover.

I do not recommend this e-book, A Body To Die For, to a person who is severely “acting out” an eating disorder. In my opinion, the person might sympathize with Christina, rather than learning from her, and use her story to reinforce why “being skinny” is necessary, even learning new ways to “act out” this disorder. I do however, recommend this e-book to professionals or parents who work with eating disorders, or who would like to better understand the thought processes and warning signs and symptoms of a person who has an eating disorder, or would just like to know more about them.

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