Why would a talented young woman enter into a torrid affair with hunger, drugs, sex, and death? Through five lengthy hospital stays, endless therapy, and the loss of family, friends, jobs, and all sense of what it means to be "normal," Marya Hornbacher lovingly embraced her anorexia and bulimia -- until a particularly horrifying bout with the disease in college put the romance of wasting away to rest forever. A vivid, honest, and emotionally wrenching memoir, Wasted is the story of one woman's travels to reality's darker side -- and her decision to find her way back on her own terms.
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"I fell for the great American dream, female version, hook, line, and sinker," Marya Hornbacher writes. "I, as many young women do, honest-to-God believed that once I Just Lost a Few Pounds, suddenly I would be a New You, I would have Ken-doll men chasing my thin legs down with bouquets of flowers on the street, I would become rich and famous and glamorous and lose my freckles and become blond and five foot ten." Hornbacher describes in shocking detail her lifelong quest to starve herself to death, to force her short, athletic body to fade away. She remembers telling a friend, at age 4, that she was on a diet. Her bizarre tale includes not only the usual puking and starving, but also being confined to mental hospitals and growing fur (a phenomenon called lanugo, which nature imposes to keep a body from freezing to death during periods of famine).From the Inside Flap:
Precociously intelligent, imaginative, energetic, and ambitious, Marya Hornbacher grew up in a comfortable middle-class American home. At the age of five, she returned home from ballet class one day, put on a enormous sweater, curled up on her bed, and cried--because she thought she was fat. By age nine she was secretly bulimic, throwing up at home after school, while watching Brady Bunch reruns on television and munching Fritos. She added anorexia to her repetoire a few years later and took great pride in her ability to starve.
Marya's story gathers intensity with each passing year. By the time she is in college and working for a wire news service in Washington, D.C., she is in the grip of a bout of anorexia so horrifying that it will forever put to rest the romance of wasting away. Down to fifty-two pounds and counting, Marya becomes a battlefield: her powerful death instinct at war with the will to live.
Why would a talented young girl go through the looking glass and step into a netherworld where up is down, food is greed, and death is honor? Why enter into a love affair with hunger, drugs, sex, and death? Marya sustained both anorexia and bulimia through five lengthy hospitalizations, endless therapy, the loss of family, friends, jobs, and, ultimately, any sense of what it means to be "normal." In this vivid, emotionally wrenching memoir, she recreates the experience and illuminates the tangle of personal, family and cultural causes unlying eating disorders.
Wasted is the story of one woman's travels to the darker side of reality, and her decision to find her way back again--on her own terms.
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