Saturday 31 July 2010


Further Reading

If you would like to read more books on body image and self-perception, the following may be something you'd be interested in reading. Not all is fiction, some are memoirs.

Nothing by Robin FriedmanNothing by Robin Friedman - The most popular guy at his high school, 17-year-old Parker Rabinowitz is wealthy, smart, and drop-dead handsome. He's a sure thing for HYP (Harvard, Yale, or Princeton) according to his college consultant, whom Parker has worked with since he was 14. Parker's got just one problem: he's bulimic. Nothing is presented in two distinct first-person voices - those of Parker and his 14-year-old sister, Danielle. Parker tells his side of the story in present-tense narrative, which becomes progressively more stripped down as he's consumed by the disorder.Danielle tells her side of the story in free verse. Danielle, who is barely even acknowledged by their achievement-obsessed parents, is known in school as 'Parker's sister'. Despite all this, Danielle loves her brother. And she's the only one who seems to notice what's happening behind Parker's perfect-seeming exterior, as he disappears into a world of deception and desperation. Complex and realistic, this novel's ultimate message is one of hope. From Amazon UK

Huge by Sasha PaleyHuge by Sasha Paley - Sixteen-year-olds Wilhelmina and April meet at Wellness Springs, a posh fat camp in California. Wil is not happy to be there - her parents own a chain of gyms and see their overweight daughter as a PR disaster - so she plans not to lose a pound all summer in order to get back at them. April, on the other hand, can't believe her luck. She's been saving for a whole year to come to Wellness Springs after she saw it featured in Teen Vogue. She can't wait to work off her excess weight, and then bring on the guys! Assigned to be room mates and work-out partners, the girls hate each other from the start. And things get worse when they both go after the same guy. Can Wil make it through the summer, and finally be accepted by her parents? Will April ever find someone willing to be a real boyfriend, even though she may never be skinny? A funny and poignant novel about friendship and self-acceptance. From Amazon UK

Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan FrazerSecrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer - And the first runner up is...

When Dara Cohen was little, she was a bright, shiny star. She was the cutest seven-year-old who ever sang Ella Fitzgerald, and it was no wonder she was crowned Little Miss Maine.

That was then. Now Dara's seventeen and she's not so little anymore. So not little, that when her classmates find out about her illustrious resume, their jaws drop. That's just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won’t get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives.

When a disastrously misinterpreted English project lands her in the counselor’s office--and her parents pull her out of school to save face--Dara realizes she has a decision to make. She can keep following the rules and being misunderstood, or she can finally reach out to the sister she’s never met--a sister who lives on a collective goat farm in Massachusetts. Dara chooses B. What follows is a summer of revelations, some heartbreaking, some joyous; of friendship, romance, a local beauty pageant; and choices. And as autumn approaches, Dara finds she may have to let go of everything she's taken for granted in order to figure out who she really is, and what family really means.
From Amazon US

Fat Cat by Robin BrandeFat Cat by Robin Brande - You are what you eat....

Cat smart, sassy, and funny—but thin, she’s not. Until her class science project. That’s when she winds up doing an experiment—on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living—and eating—like the hominids, our earliest human ancestors. True, no chips or TV is a bummer and no car is a pain, but healthful eating and walking everywhere do have their benefits.

As the pounds drop off, the guys pile on. All this newfound male attention is enough to drive a girl crazy! If only she weren’t too busy hating Matt McKinney to notice....

This funny and thoughtful novel explores how girls feel about their bodies, and the ways they can best take care of their most precious resource: themselves.
From Amazon US

Accidents of Nature by Harriet McBryde JohnsonAccidents of Nature by Harriet McBryde Johnson - Seventeen-year-old Jean has cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair, but she's always believed she's just the same as everyone else. She goes to normal school and has normal friends. She's never really known another disabled person before she arrives at Camp Courage. But there Jean meets Sara, who welcomes her to 'Crip Camp' and nicknames her Spazzo. Sara has radical theories about how people fit into society. She's full of rage and revolution against pitying insults and the lack of respect for people with disabilities. As Jean joins a community unlike any she has ever imagined, she comes to question her old beliefs and look at the world in a new light. The camp session is only ten days long, but that may be all it takes to change a life forever. From Amazon UK

Does My Bum Look Big In This Ad? by Lisa CoxDoes My Bum Look Big In This Ad? by Lisa Cox - Ever wondered why you don’t look like the people in magazine ads?

Heaps of books look at how popular culture (like the media) affect the way you feel about yourself. Unfortunately, they’re mostly written about young people, not for young people… until now!

Lisa Cox takes a behind the scenes look at the media industry: Showing you how to critically and independently evaluate what you see, hear or read in popular culture.

You’ll also learn how to develop and maintain a positive body image, now and in the future, as you navigate your way through the media maze.

Thin by Grace BowmanThin by Grace Bowman - Bright, popular, pretty and successful, Grace Bowman had the world at her feet. So what drove her to starve herself nearly to death at the age of 18? And what, more importantly, made her stop? A grippingly honest account of life with anorexia nervosa, A Shape of My Own is Grace's hearbreaking, shocking and, finally, inspirational memoir. An extraordinary story, it is also a common one - is there a woman in the western world who has a normal relationship with food? A compulsive read, essential for anyone hoping to understand more about eating disorders and overcoming addiction. From Amazon UK

Wasted by Marya HornbacherWasted by Marya Hornbacher - A 'retired career anorexic' examines herself and her, and our, culture in a masterpiece of confessional literature. At the age of four Marya Hornbacher looked in a mirror and decided she was fat. At nine, she was bulimic. At twelve, she was anorexic. By the time she was eighteen, she'd been hospitalized five times, once in the loony bin. Her doctors and her parents had given up on her; they were watching her die. But Marya decided to live. Four years on, now 22, here is her harrowing tale, powerfully told in a virtuoso mix of memoir, cultural criticism and psychological examination. Here is the amazingly articulate fury of a clever woman made stupid by her culture, who threw away her teenage years in a continuous cycle of bingeing and vomiting or just plain starvation. The first book to explore, from the inside, the intimate relationship between eating disorders and 1990s culture's historically unprecedented obsession with body, diet and gender; not a testimony to a miracle cure, but the story of one woman's travels to the darker side of reality, and her decision to find her way back, on her own terms. From Amazon UK

Good Girls Do Swallow by Rachael Oakes-AshGood Girls Do Swallow by Rachael Oakes-Ash - Between the ages of 20 and 30, Rachael Oakes-Ash lost 60kg and gained 76kg on a rollercoaster of body image problems and food obsession. She went through anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, gym obsession, strict dieting and binge eating before finally she figured out how to stop torturing herself and hating her body. This is the black and funny story of her downfall and recovery. Rachael might have taken things further than many of us, but this is a story every woman can relate to. In Australia, 75 per cent of women think they are too fat and 95 per cent of women have dieted (even though dieting is the best way to put on weight). You might not have rescued food from the bin in a moment of binge-madness but if you've ever felt lousy and reached for a chocolate biscuit for comfort this book is for you. "What the diet promised, I got," writes Rachael. "I got the body that can wear the clothes. I got the job I love, I got the man I want. But I only got it for keeps when I stopped dieting. "Good Girls Do Swallow" shows how she did it. And how you can, too. From Amazon U

Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self by Lori GottliebStick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self by Lori Gottlieb - Based on diaries written in 1978, when she was eleven years old, the author offers a chronicle of her battle with anorexia and the pressures from family, peers, and society that led her to starve herself. From Amazon UK

Purge: Rehab Diaries: Life in an Easting Disorders Treatment Centre by Nicole JohnsPurge: Rehab Diaries: Life in an Easting Disorders Treatment Centre by Nicole Johns - With a Girl Interrupted feel, this memoir is beautifully crafted and will appeal to many readers who enjoy the 'misery-memoir' genre. In this engaging, raw memoir, Nicole Johns documents her battle with an eating disorder. Focusing primarily on her three months in a treatment facility, Johns translates her experience directly to the page. Her prose is lucid, and she seamlessly switches tenses and moves through time as she unearths several important themes: body image and sexuality, sexual abuse and relationships, and the struggle to piece together one's path in life.While other books dealing with this theme may sugar coat the harsh realities of living with an eating disorder, "Purge" does not hold back. Johns' presents an honest, detailed account of her experience with treatment, avoiding the happily-ever-after while still offering hope to the millions struggling with these devastating disorders. "Purge" sends a message to those who are fighting an uphill battle with an eating disorder: though the road may be rough, ultimately there is hope. From Amazon UK

Hungry: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin by Allen ZadoffHungry: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin by Allen Zadoff - This work provides weight loss advice and inspiration from the delicious, calorific yet uncomfortably large life experiences of a formerly fat man. With an appetite both for life and for binge eating, hungry man Allen Zadoff spent years reasoning that a big, healthy man should have a big, healthy appetite and that his rapidly increasing girth was no more than a regular guy thing. He even took pride in his eating prowess, polishing off boxes of chocolates with aplomb and devouring enough dim sum to feed a wedding party. After all, he rationalized, real men don't have eating disorders - they have healthy appetites. By the age of 28, Zadoff's waistline had swelled to size 54, his shirts to 4XL. What had started as a little weight problem had become a serious issue on the way to destroying his life. He began to suspect that thinness would forever elude him, even as he searched desperately for a way to lose the weight that stood stubbornly in the way of his happiness. Then food stopped working for him - instead of bringing momentary peace, it was increasingly carrying him to new depths of despair. It was then Zadoff realized that no amount of willpower and no known diet could break his addiction to food. He needed to find a new way of living, a set of tools for staying 'on the wagon' that would carry him into thin and beyond. He began to focus less on what he ate, and began instead to focus on the physical and emotional underpinnings of what he came to understand as a disease. The pounds melted away and so began the adventure of a lifetime. As laugh-out-loud funny as it is inspirational, Hungry follows Zadoff's incredible journey - what he thought he knew about life, weight and happiness on his way up the scale, and more importantly, everything he learned now that he's found his way back down. Blending his personal story with surprising but practical strategies for weight loss success, Zadoff has created a unique book that will delight and inform men and women alike. From Amazon US

If you know of any others, please recommend them and I'll add them to the list.


  1. I just posted a few non-fic recommendations (later than I'd hoped :S). There's some great sounding books in this post, I kind of think I need a break now from all the body image stuff though!

  2. I know what you mean! I'm currently reading an adult fantasy to give myself a bit of a break, but I really do like the sound of a lot of these! :) I shall check out your post now.