Wasted

 
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Why would a talented young girl go through the looking glass and step into a netherworld where up is down and food is greed, where death is honor and flesh is weak? Why enter into a love affair with hunger, drugs, sex, and death? Marya Hornbacher sustains both anorexia and bulimia through five lengthy hospitalizations, endless therapy, and the loss of family, friends, jobs, and ultimately, any sense of what it means to be "normal." By the time she is in college, Hornbacher is in the grip of a bout with anorexia so horrifying that it will forever put to rest the romance of wasting away. In this vivid, emotionally wrenching memoir, she re-created the experience and illuminated that tangle of personal, family, and cultural causes underlying 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--on her own terms.?



"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).

Customer Reviews:

  • Couldn't put it down!
    I picked this book up at the library because another I wanted wasn't available. What a break! I love memoirs and biographies that are direct and Hornbacher pulls no punches. Suprisingly, she doesn't blame everyone around her for her problems (although that grandmother was pretty awful). Hornbacher is a truly gifted writer even if her subject here is heartbreaking. As a female, I have suffered from eating 'issues' but nothing compared to Hornbacher. I had no idea the level of suffering these people go through... the laxatives, vomiting so much it clogs the pipes, slow journey into madness... all because of FOOD?!

    I do wish that the book were clearer on 2 things - 1) when and why did she stop taking her meds after 1st hospitalization. Does she go on/off with the meds? Stopping her meds cold-turkey may have immensely affected her relapses. 2) Why does she not mention the young boy, Duane, from Lowe House, again after chapter 6? Does she not visit him or keep in touch? It seems he needed her as a friend and perhaps that need could have helped her too... just a thought.

    Finally, thanks to Marya for writing this book. I am raising 2 young daughters and I will try to remember how harsh little comments about food can sound to a child with low self-esteem. Where ever Marya is today, I hope she is better and EATING. No one should suffer the way she has!
    ...more info
  • Excellent writing, horrific story
    This was exceptionally written. Marya is a girl who suffers from severe anorexia and bulimia and lived to tell about it. When she begins her story and talks about when she first started her bulimia, her observations of things at this young age seemed far beyond her years. Her feelings and thoughts are described in the most intricate detail and intelligence. It isn't a surprise that Marya won awards for her writing.
    I grew up during the 70's and 80's but I can't really relate to the obsession with body, weight and food. Society may play a part in her eating disorder but I think her family, their lifestyle, her relationship with her parents and their eating habits all contributed to Marya's eating disorder.
    I am amazed at how well Marya was able to put her experience, thoughts, feelings and diagnosis into words. Her ability to go back and interpret her disease and why she did the things she did is truly amazing.
    I think all girls, teenagers and adult woman should read this book. Not only for the perspective of the eating disorder but to get a true picture of how everywhere you go women are talking about their weight and the parts of their bodies they hate. ...more info
  • Beat Book About Bulimia and Anorexia Ever
    This book had me enthralled. I've been through the personal hell of EDs myself and I have never seen a book that captured it so well. Beware though. This is NOT a feel good book. It is very real and can be very depressing. She doesn't get a fairy tale ending. But, it's very honest. When you have an ED for that long, it never fully goes away. You will always have the little voice in your head telling you that you could be thinner, or that your butt has gotten bigger, or that skipping a meal would be fine. But, she fights her impulses and is doing well in recovery.

    It is very introspective as well. Marya goes back to when it all began and tries to figure out why she got an ED. Throughout the book, she is honest with herself and with the readers. But it is a tough read. It's not a book that everyone can handle. ...more info
  • Very good book
    I liked this book a lot and not 'cause I related to Marya. I didn't. Not in the beginning, anyway. In fact, I don't even recall my life very much at 7 years old; I couldn't really picture someone that young having and ED. I'm not implying she might have been dishonest, but it just made me realize that I wasn't so self-aware at that age, of my own image.

    The book is catchy. It's the kind of book where you want to know what happens next. It's the kind of book you want to know how it ends. Though, it *could* be triggering -- as a matter of fact, especially when she says, at the end, that she relapsed following the narration of the events. However, it's honest. An ED is not something that you can shake off by going to the doctor and popping in some pills or being hospitalized for a period of time. It's a life-long battle. And you must fight it every day, within yourself....more info
  • Excellent
    An excellent and disturbing account of one woman's lifelong struggle with a combination eating disorder. Most ED patients exhibit symptoms of only one type of disorder, so this is a fascinating look from the inside out of someone who struggles with both. Very triggering, but also very uplifting. ...more info
  • Triggering
    I agree that this book is triggering, even for girls who do not have eating disorders. However, if you are strong willed, it is an amazing, heartfelt story. The author does not beat around the bush. It is very grotesque and detailed in some of the techniques she describes about her eating disorder. It is the best anorexia-themed book out there, and should be read by anyone who is a recovered anoretic, or anyone who is curious about the disease....more info
  • Wasted by Marya Hornbacher
    This book offered me a lot of insight into an actual sufferer's life, rather than what clinicians say a sufferer's life should be. Of course, Marya states that her family was dysfunctional to some extent, but it wasn't how the doctors had cut it out to be. I think it helped me understand my eating disorder better....more info
  • BUY THIS BOOK!
    Marya Hornbacher is a pure genius. This is by far my all time favorite book, eating disorder related or otherwise. She literally reaches through the page & pulls you head first into her insane & depressing life. You're walking right beside her through the entire book. She doesn't make anything sound pretty & it pays off. You get this raw, fragile feeling the more you read & when you finally close the book you want to just flip it over & start again....more info
  • Amazing
    This is a great book. Myra Hornbacher is brutally honest in this memoir. She doesn't sugarcoat anything and shows the reader the truely ugly and dangerous side to eating disorders. It a book every young girl and woman should read, especially in our society today where thinness is emphasized and actresses and models today are just shrinking and shrinking to the point where they just look like skeletons. This book opens the reader's eye to the horror of eating disorders and how it truely is a disease that needs understanding. This is an easy read considering the subject matter and I've read it a dozen times. Highly recommend it....more info
  • Painfully Personal
    Never one to starve myself to bend the needle on the scale, I've always been curious about the mentality of women who do feel the need for food deprivation in order to achieve the body they think they should have. I even knew a potential bulimic in high school and never understood how she could make herself throw up in order to stay skinny, not to mention feeling appalled by the concept. I'm able to say now after reading this memoir that the notion of eating disorders has been extensively elucidated for me while increasing my dismayed response to such behavior.

    Nominated in 1998 for the Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction, "Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia" is at times shocking, difficult to digest (in more ways than one, pardon the pun) and yet strangely edifying, allowing the reader a peek inside the driving forces behind women with eating disorders. Author Marya Hornbacher cracks the door wide open on a madness few understand, a neurosis that rationalizes time and again the abnormal act of starvation.

    "Wasted" follows Hornbacher's early childhood in California all the way to her college years in Minnesota and Washington D.C., chronicling in painstaking detail her burgeoning eating disorder. A bulimic at only nine years old, Marya perpetuated the vicious cycle of bingeing and purging for seven years, escalating to anorexia at 15 when she began attending Interlochen, a prestigious boarding school. Her poor self-image and intense scrutiny of her body and how others perceived it eventually led to drug addiction (uppers, downers, cocaine), alcohol abuse and promiscuity beginning at 13. Hospitalized a whopping five times in her youth, Marya's weight bottomed out at a precarious 52 lbs by the time she was 19, her doctors giving her parents the morbid time frame of one week in which to settle her affairs. She would eventually be classified as EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) due to her disordered eating patterns that couldn't be definitively categorized and even today still struggles with food/weight issues.

    Hornbacher's scrupulous narrative allows her reader to peer deep into the psychological dysfunction of anoretics and bulimics, illustrating that eating disorders are a means of managing the self when all else is unmanageable, of feeling some sort of power over one's destiny and of conquering what is perceived to be an opposing force (such as hunger). Often citing quality of life, familial relationships and chemical imbalances as root causes, Hornbacher also explains that society's fixation on the perfect body and the normal angst of pre-pubescence as well as adolescence is a contributing factor to the feeling of one's life spiraling out of control, the impulse to adopt anorexic or bulimic behavior seen as a veritable steering wheel on the treacherous highway of life. Particularly haunting is the following passage that unerringly explains the aberrance of eating disorders:

    "I had a clear haunting knowledge that my eating disorder was cruelty. We forget this. We think of bulimia and anorexia as either a bizarre psychosis, or as a quirky little habit, a phase, or as a thing that women just do. We forget that it is a violent act, that is bespeaks a profound level of anger toward and fear of the self." (pg. 123)

    Time and I again I muttered aloud in disbelief and shock at Marya's candid confessions of excessive exercising, the relentless cycle of bingeing and purging and/or fasting, downing whole bottles of syrup of ipecac as well as laxative abuse and later on adopting self-mutilation as a coping mechanism. Hornbacher is so brutally truthful about her drug and alcohol use and numerous sexual encounters that her memoir was banned from several public school systems across the country as a result. Vacillating between clinical and personal, the book contains numerous annotations from medical professionals and/or medical texts in between horror stories of vomiting in alleys or suitcases, peculiar eating habits (carrot sticks and mustard) and the sometimes strange but mostly painful physical side effects of her disorder (growing lanugo, migraines, severe muscle aches, insomnia, amenorrhea, esophagitis, fainting/black outs, constantly feeling cold, craving salt, etc.).

    Bottom line: If you're curious about someone who wages a constant war with their own body, if you yourself have trouble reconciling your own weight (though deemed normal) or your physically healthy daughter(s) tells you she just NEEDS to go on a diet, crack open "Wasted" and take it from someone who knows firsthand how hard it is - as well as how important it is - to feel comfortable in your own skin.
    ...more info
  • Very wordy and hard to read....
    I saw all the great reviews of this book and thought it would be worth reading. Its VERY wordy and she talks about the same thing forever. Its also very scattered and I find myself having to read parts of it over and over before I can understand it and move on. I hate the quotes she uses as they jut don't seem to fit. When I finished the book I feel angry. She does not talk about what happened at the hospital. She talks about what changed her very little and leaves A LOT to be desired. I know that its hard to write an ending to an eating disorder memoir but I feel like she could have said a lot more and in a lot less words. As other people have said the author seems very self-absorbed and it seems like all she is doing for most of the book is bragging never really saying that she screwed up. She gloats the fact that she tricked so many people for so long even though she had so many loving people around her trying to help. I do NOT recommend this book at all. It could also be EXTREMELY triggering to anyone with an eating disorder. I agree with other reviewers in saying that if you know anyone who struggles with their weight this book is NOT for them!

    My reasons for two stars is the fact that there are some nice parts and while its not a great book I find myself wanting to read it again and again....more info
  • Beautiful and Dead-On
    Quite simply the best memoir ever written on the subject. Marya Hornbacher has an astounding way with words and I felt as though I was reading my own biography at many points. I have read nearly every book available on the subject as I have struggled back and forth with Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa for the better part of 12 years and have yet to find anything to compares to this book. I recommend this book not only to sufferers, but to anyone looking to gain insight into the thought process of someone with an eating disorder. This book is nothing short of a triumph on Hornbacher's part and her honesty in dealing with this issue should be an example to all others....more info
  • The Eating Disorder Bible
    This book makes me absolutely sick. I remember reading it in Jr. High as I was struggling with anorexia and bulimia and remember getting so many ideas from it. It basically tells you how to become the best damn anorexic/bulimic you can be. It's overly verbose with awful anologies- and not truthful- the woman was sick when she wrote it. I would never recommend this book to anyone- eating disorder or no....more info
  • catharsis of my thoughts
    i cannot believe how relieved i felt after reading this book. i myself have anorexia and connect on so many levels with the author. the anger, the superiority complex, the fatal drive for "just a little bit more"... I believe the point in time in which the author wrote the memoir was perfect, where she is still the cannonball firing herself into life. her mind was still in the element of anorexia which makes it all the more puncturing for your eyes to read, revealing the struggle keeps going and going. her following book, "madness", follows up on her life after the beginning of the illness and is also very good. this provides her later wiser point of view and her difficulties with bipolar 1. ...more info
  • Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
    Marya Hornbacher is the mediator between the everyday human being and the world's most widely misunderstood creatures of society: the eating-disordered. In "Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia", she explains to readers that eating disorders are not just "phases" that teenage "girls" go through, but rather an intense, passionate desire for power that "strips you of all power" instead.
    Hornbacher, a freelance journalist who is also the author of "The Center of Winter" and "Madness: A Bipolar Life", developed bulimia at age nine, developed alcohol and drug issues at the age of thirteen, and became anorexic at the age of fifteen. After her release from a residential treatment hospital, she attended the University of Minnesota and wrote for the local paper, accepting her scholarship to American University later in 1992. She later developed other physical problems following her continued eating disorders.
    Although a rather sullen story of the highs and lows of her struggle with weight, Hornbacher addresses the point that eating disorders, cultural obsession with weight and body, food, and control have a lot in common. In one section of the book, she writes that an eating disorder is...more info
  • a bit too wordy
    Author could have gotten her point across with a lot less verbiage. I don't need to know every minute detail. I'm glazing over much of it just to keep from becoming too bored with it all. Subject is interesting though....more info
  • Oh my GOD this STANK...
    I picked "Wasted" up at a friends house. Always curious about the subject because of my own body/food control issues, I hoped it would be an interesting read. As it was, I couldn't get through it. All I could think was, "where the hell was the editor?" Elements of the story are certainly compelling, but the way it is presented is completely self-indulgent, poorly written, and BO-ring.

    The only good thing I can say about it is that this book might be helpful for counselors or nurses who work with eating disorders because it demonstrates perfectly the frozen adolescence, complete self-absorption, and circular thinking of an out-of-control anorexic. It might also feel very relatable to girls or women with similarly serious disorders.

    If you don't fit into one of these two categories, pass this book by. It's like reading the transcript to a long, whiny therapy session, and though the writer's personality may be frozen at the clueless age of thirteen through no fault of her own, it doesn't make for an especially satisfying read for the rest of us.

    Try picking up: "Stick Figure: A Diary of my Former Self". Infinitely more interesting and well-crafted. ...more info
  • Proceed with Caution...
    Im going to take a page right out of Marya Hornbacher's writing here and be honest, I don't think I will ever recommend this book to others in recovery from eating disorders, suffering from an eating disorder, or who seem susceptible to an eating disorder (young teen girls, etc). As someone who, until today, considered myself about 90% recovered from an eating disorder- I was shocked at the power this book had to nearly seduce me back into the world of EDs... I tend to shy away from generalizations but most who have EDs are extremely competitive and will push themselves and their bodies past their healthy thresholds. Hornbacher, who was only 23 when she wrote Wasted, clearly clings to her identity as an anorectic and bulimic. She made me want to top her in the sense that I can be sick and actually recover- I wanted to use her strategies for weight loss and secrecy and use them BETTER than her. I cannot believe I am admitting this, but I am being truthful in that this book brought to the surface some of the distorted thinking patterns and selfish, competitive aspects of my nature. PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS IF YOU INTEND TO READ THIS BOOK!!! I thought I could read this book purely from the view point of recovery, yet Marya's account of her experience in the very seductive, dark, comforting and extreme world of eating disorders made me want to return, if just for a quick VISIT, to this world.

    Having said this, I do think that since this book was written from someone who still struggled with the disorder, it paints a very detailed picture of the mind and experiences of a very ill person. You might benefit from this if you are a parent, or a loved one of someone with an ED, or if you are simply curious and wish to expand your knowledge of EDs.

    I think its also important to note that the author has since written other memoirs, depicting her battle with bipolar disorder and addiction. From what I gather, Marya seems to have left out her battle with addiction, and was not very aware that she was bipolar for much of her life depicted in the book. It is my belief that a person suffering from all of these illnesses will write from the views of all these illnesses. Therefore, this is not a picture of ONLY an eating disorder, but also of someone's life riddled with manic episodes that contributed in many ways to the prolonging of her disorder and probably enabled her to remain exceptionally
    "successful"in her academic and work endeavors. This is not always the case for anoretics.

    I won't go so far as to say I wish this book wasnt written- it shares an insight into a very ill mind, through the beautifully crafted writing of a truly gifted author. Take what you will from this book- but take it with a grain of salt. There are harsh truths here, and vivid depictions of what most would be considered things unspeakable- but are often things that anorectics and bulimics can do on auto-pilot.

    Dont say you werent warned, and proceed with caution!!!!!...more info
  • Nothing wasted
    WASTED is a memoir based on Marya Hornbacher living with and essentially growing up with Bulimia and Anorexia. It's nearly impossible to appropriately summarize her account in a mere short blurb. It irritates me to see so many people quickly dismissing the book by saying "it's triggering DON'T READ IT!" and what not. Sure if you've struggled with these same problems it'd probably be triggering, but hopefully people can use their best judgement when deciding whether or not to "go down that road again", and give it a chance regardless. This is Marya's story, her experience, whether people can relate or not. It is still unique to her.

    For the rest of us, and by the rest I mean those unafflicted with such disorders -- the book is incredibly compelling and basically just fascinating from start to finish. Marya has a wonderful narrative voice and spares no expense, no detail no matter how minor or major. She includes numerous statistics, references to expert opinions etc, without making it sound preachy and/or like some after school special. There is no pity or sympathy sought after, just the plain honest account(s) of what was and what apparently still is constant in her current life.

    She's a little girl at age 4 or 5 claiming she's "on a diet". She begins bingeing and purging at 9. What follows is a dark, harrowing spiral of events that to the "average" person seem nothing short of mind blowing. Her experiences go beyond the ED's when she starts dabbling in drugs, is promiscuous at a very young age, and basically as a result of all of the above becomes very self destructive.

    This has got to be the best book out there on this topic. Nothing else can really compare as Hornbacher goes into such lengthy detail about virtually everything she went through, step by step. Her hospitalizations, her failed treatments, her ever present battles... all with a blow by blow recollection.

    The most redeeming thing through and through is the author's voice-- her ability to recall each and every episode with precise detail, not only her actions but her thought processes behind them. It doesn't come across as her "making excuses" for what she did. All of that alone is what made the book worth reading, just as it made it disturbing. It's like you cannot believe how someone can get THAT out of control, but it happens...even to the most intelligent supposedly well rounded people.

    There is no happy ending, no final conclusion that says "Well, that was how it all went down, but I'm all better now" ... I'm glad she rehashed everything the way that she did, because it offered so much REAL LIFE insight. You come to learn that these things don't just go away with pills and therapy and hospitalizations, and ultimately it is just up to you, whether you want to live or die. It's hard to imagine that once you have such an ingrained disorder it can just be shed with a lot of treatment and help. It will dissipate, you will improve, but it never fully goes away. Thats the distinction I got after reading this book.

    Everyone should read this, man or woman, teenager or adult. ...more info
  • Couldn't have said it better myself.
    I felt as if she was writing this book about me, and so do many other girls. We all go through the same thing and with us all it comes out of no where and you're stuck with it. No going back. Very well written book, one of the few books i've been able to sit down a read all the way through in one sitting, there is never a dull moment....more info
  • doesn't help people with eating disorders
    In the beginning of this book she says that she wants to help people who are suffering from eating disorders, but she doesn't even go in depth about her true recovery. People who already have eating disorders already know about what that's like, but what they may not know is how to get over it like she did. That would've made for a better story and it might've actually helped someone....more info
  • If I COULD give it 6 stars . . .
    I bought this book a long time ago and have read it countless times since then. It is one of my favorites. It is real, well-written, and honest. ...more info
  • An Indispensable Read...
    If you want the truth about anorexia, depression and hard knocks, read this novel. Marya doesn't pussy-foot around tough issues, and her true-to-life tellings of her child and teen years will have you reading and wondering what else she has to tell. Marya has a great writing style and a quirky sense of humor that makes even the worst of the worst worth reading. I would definitely suggest this book to those that want the truth....more info
  • candid, well-written
    honest, blunt, and insightful. As others have pointed out, it may not aid in the recovery of an eating disorder. However, I do not believe that it romanticizes eating disorders in such a way that it makes them seem more glamorous than they really are. I believe that any romantic thoughts expressed in the book are thoughts that the author, as well as other eating disordered people, have experienced, however distorted they may be. In other words, while for most people it won't inspire recovery, it will not prevent it, because they are most probably already familiar with the feelings that she expresses.
    I believe that this book will be most valuable to the person trying to understand the thought process behind eating disorders, more specifically family and friends of those who suffer from them. It is extremely candid and expressive, the literary style very reflective of the overall experience of having an eating disorder. If nothing else, since there are so many skeptics of this book's ability to aid in any sort of recovery process, this book should be respected as an articulate memoir and overall well-written piece of literature.

    ...more info
  • very honest, and brutally genuine
    Well, lets see. I was actually extremely amazed at how much i identified with some of the issues and situations that are addressed in this book. thankfully my own eating disorder was never that dire. This book is so interesting because it draws you into a different world or at least a different mind frame of obsession, honesty, and desperation. skimming over it you'd just see the same words and get the impression that it's about the same thing on every page, maybe a list of foods she ate that day or whatever, well, not at all. forgive me for even writing that. but it's a very serious and sobering book. it recalls her past and goes through her thoughts, and her different experiences, many of them amazing. a lot of the explanations given in this book were very believable, though. for me anyway. because i identified so much with them. much about this book is amazing, and not in a good way, either.
    it helped me out a lot and will, hopefully give more insight out about anorexia and bulimia....more info
  • interesting
    I read this book when I was already in solid recovery, and for me it was not triggering. If I had read it in an earlier stage it probably would have been, but what would have triggered me would be the envy I would feel over her results, as well as a desire to compete, to be as good at it, and the most triggering thing would have been the absence of any sort of happy ending, I would have been left feeling there was no hope of recovery. However, I don't see so much of a problem with the thing many others have focused their complaints on, the "tips and tricks". Since, frankly, those can easily be found in other places if one wants to find them, and its nothing particularly new.

    What I both liked and disliked most about this was the way I could relate to it, there are so many things I recognize in my own life, from the early onset puberty, to the promiscuity in her teens, and especially her behaviour and personality. The reason I dislike the similarities of personality is of course that I didn't like her personality in the book, she does in my opinion come off as selfish, unlikeable, self absorbed, whiny, and the hardest part for me in reading about this is that 5 years ago, this was ME.

    Also, the general approach to eating disordered people when I first went into treatment kind of glorified "us", describing us as selfless, driven, hardworking people-pleasers, almost saints - and I never felt the label fit me, I felt like I was being ascribed a number of traits I didn't have. And to be honest, I was left feeling for a long time that I was probably not that sick, since I didn't fit the label, I was probably doing it "wrong". I didn't particularly like having to explain that I was not in fact a saint, I just happened to throw up my food, so for me I think Wasted described the disease excellently, the way I experienced it.

    Well, my personality has changed extremely since ED is no longer in my life, but I still look back with regret at all the pain I caused my family in those years, and the relationships and friendships I invariably destroyed, because when my ED was at its worst, I was impossible to live with, or like for that matter.

    As for the book glorifying EDs, I must say it does in some way feel to me like it tries to. OR rather, I agree that its very clear it was written by someone who was still far from recovered, and still very much in the ED mentality, still missing her ED, and I do feel there is an undertone of "see how sick I was", and a feeling sometimes that she is bragging. For me that's not a problem now, rather it makes the book feel more realistic, and gives a very stark look at an eating disorder from the inside.

    Ive recommended this book to family and friends who do not have eating disorders, since for me, it's a very good account of how I was, thought, felt, when I had my ED, it explains me better than I could myself. I like this book, but, I would not recommend it to someone still in the midst of an eating disorder, but to anyone else who wants to know what its like, yes.
    ...more info
  • Gripping!
    This book is the definition of disturbing....but it may bring "skinny" into a better perspective for you. The media should read this & then re-evaluate what kind of skinny is appropriate for women......more info
  • hummm I see
    Well I've made it half way threw. I found it was really hard to get into this book. However one I started reading it was a little better. I find the way she writes to be a little all over the pace at some parts. It's so far an okay book we'll see once I'm done....more info
  • Very good
    I have had an ED for 13 years now and am trying to recover. I read this book and is made me so sad and scared. I was going down that same path! I knew I was going to have to change how I think and eat so that I do not do anymore damage to my body. This book really made me think. Its only been 2 months since I read this book and already I have gained some weight back and I am getting better each day. I owe a big thank you to this book and writer for opening my eyes....more info
  • honest and raw
    This is an amazingly truthful portrayel, on a subject that is often often over glamourized and glossed over...unlike most of the novels that don't get into the disgusting, nauseating, (and at the risk of making an undertatement) shameful reality of an eating disorder this one spells it all out for you. Don't get me wrong I don't believe people should feel shame about this disease, I would hope more for concern or worry for their own physical well being, but having had one myself for many years, I know that shame is a prime motivation for the creation and sucess of this disease in a particular person. I would like to say though, despite this book being an amazing account I think that some people still in the clutches of an eating disorder would find this triggering and informative in dangerous ways...I would definately recommend this for friends and family of someone going through this terrible ordeal....more info
  • Probably the best book I've ever read.
    I could not put this book down since the time I received it in the mail. This book made me laugh, and in the end I couldn't help but feel extreamly emotional. I feel I have a lot in common with the author. She is very intelligent and describes her life so beautifully. I would HIGHLY recommend this book. I'd be great to meet the author one day....more info
  • Love it
    I love the way this book was written. I never get bored of reading it over and over again....more info
  • Informative
    A friend of mine is organizing a speaker event that will bring the author of this book to Boston College. I was intrigued. It did take me a good 75 pages to get into the book but once I did I couldn't put it down! Very informative but also interesting, and from what I hear from someone who really does/did have an eating disorder it's quite representative of what the experience of having and ED is like....more info
  • Marya wasn't always the way she is today
    Marya wasn't always the way she is today. She used to be the all American girl eating PB and J's while she watched her cartoons, but when Marya was eight years old something in her brain changed and since then she has never been the same.
    Author Marya Hornbacher beautifully illustrates her struggles with bulimia and anorexia in her autobiography Wasted. She shows a world that people hardly get to see and explains the life and ways of bulimics and anorectics that is both compelling and inspiring.
    Wasted takes you through 10 years of Marya's life as she slowly jumps back and forth between anorexia and bulimia. It depicts the everyday struggles of the disease; how the body slowly stops to care about what is occurring, the constant worries about food, and the fear that someone might find out and God forbid, possibly try to help you! It goes in depth about the psychological factors of the disease and explains it all in a way that is understandable and relevant. This book will both shock and sicken you as you discover what goes behind closed doors of these two heartless diseases.
    My praise is endless for this novel and I thank it for opening my eyes to the mysterious world that is impossible to fully understand unless you've experienced the ordeal first hand. Many people could benefit from taking the time to read Wasted, which will help to clue people in and provide a better understanding to the problems in our society and what goes on to the people who are enduring these struggles daily. However this book is not a constant thriller and amongst the eye opening and realization moments there will be a few parts that are tedious and almost seem to drag on. In spite of the occasional drowsy sections this book offers an incredible insight inside the secret lives of bulimics and anorectics and I would confidently recommend it to anyone who wants a brilliant and inspiring read.
    ...more info
  • Well Written
    definitely a straight forward book. Doesn't sugar coat the seriousness of this disorder in the slightest bit. One of the reason i read it twice. I could relate so much to this author and her story. At certain points in the book I could have been reading pages straight out of my own journal. I loved it....more info
  • Wasted
    This is a powerful book not just about eating disorders but about life and society and the cultural ideal for women imposed onto all of us. Marya is an exceptional woman with an exceptional story to tell. This book is just further proof that our society needs to change its perspectives about women and beauty else all us gals are doomed to kill ourselves by starvation in a country of plenty....more info
  • brutally honest and very well written
    This book has been criticized in the past from those suffering from an eating disorder as rather triggering and romanticized. I disagree. This is the best memoir and ED related novel I have come across, and I have read dozens. She's honest, her experiences described in great detail, and it's written beautifully. I highly recommend it....more info
  • A Wasted Piece of Money.
    Before I delve into my textual diatribe on why this book fails on so many levels, let me go ahead and issue this disclaimer: I am aware this is no "feel good" treatise. I understand it's "raw, painful & bloody". I comprehend to the best of my abilities the candor in which she constructed every disposable consonant and vowel imaginable, as I am also very cognizant of the fact I no longer have my Barnes and Noble receipt and cannot return this pile of rubbish for a full refund.

    Eating disorders make one pretty self-absorbed, but the deluge of pitiful emotions Hornbacher must drudge up on daily bases must be a private Hell to which I have no ticket. In this book, she manages to make bulimics and anorexics look dull, self-centered, sans any kind of emotional or mental intelligence. I see here, or so the Amazon dot com website tells me, she also suffers from bipolar disorder and is, yet again (way to go, Hornbacher), cashing on all the things wrong with her so she may stretch herself naked against the frigid electron microscope of my literary wrath. She owns up to every horrific thing you could ever do to yourself and to everyone around you (bulimia at a precocious age, self-aborted pregnancies, promiscuous behavior on shuttle buses, etc), which I suppose is admirable, however it does not lessen the validity of one's horror thinking that someone can be that truly off from the rest of society.

    I am a counselor for girls with eating disorders here on the web, and I would not recommend this tripe to them with the beating of my own heart. This is not a recovery tool. It's a veritable, raving, histrionic account that our society and the generations before us have done a fantastic job of messing everything up for the common person and, shall I say, have given writing contracts to those who only mass-market themselves. Kudos, Hornbacher. You have officially turned my stomach....more info
  • Honest, Graphic, and Interesting
    Marya Hornbacher had a very hard life. She grew up in a twisted reality where the skinnier you were the better you were. She was anorexic and bulimic by the age of 15. This book shows how eating disorders can destroy your life and everyone around you. The author Marya Hornbacher tells of her life in graphic detail. She does not leave any small detail out. At times, it can be troubling but it shows what she went through. She started engaging in drugs, promiscuous sex, and daily self-induced vomiting. Reading this book shows the downward spiral of eating disorders. With every page, you see Marya fall farther and farther into a hole. This book shows that eating disorders are not just something people do for attention. They are diseases that take control of your life. This book connects very well with the younger audiences because they are sensitive to issues such as their appearance. This book definitely will riddle out any urge to become anorexic and/or bulimic. Hornbacher was 23 years old when she wrote this book, so she still is trying to get over her disease. She was on the urge of death, so she can tell this story from the worst-case scenario point of view very well. She did not get a college degree, she does not use fancy vocabulary, she just tells her story in the simplest yet realistic way possible. It is a great read and does not get dull for a moment. I highly recommend this book to any audience....more info
  • Excellent read albeit quite triggering for most
    Marya is a fabulous writer! I am looking forward to reading her other book next. That being said, this book is very triggering for most!!!!! In fact, when i brought it with me to an inpatient ED Unit, and upon check-in, it was taken from me as "contraband". It triggered me on several occasions before entering the facility - but I was unable to put it down because it is such a captivating story. So, read with caution - that's all I can say. If you are newly recovered from an ED - or knee deep in its deceptive hold, don't look to this book for help. It won't help you. In fact, it'll probably set you back a few notches. This is probably best read by those whom are sympathetic to our disease, but not actually suffering from it. ...more info
  • Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
    The book was great. It wasn't at all a phony "inspirational" or advice type book, and the author speaks in a refreshingly honest tone; none of the whiney "woe is me" you might expect. Overall an excellent book, although I will say that I was mildly put off by the ending. But I suppose that no one really picks up this book with the intention of using it to replace therapy. She's not going to "cure" you, or even tell you how she was "cured". As long as you know that before hand, it's a great read....more info
  • An amazing look into the life of a person with an E.D.
    I would suggest this book to anyone with an E.D., or anyonr who knows someone who suffers from one. This is a raw, unfiltered look at the life of an eating disorder sufferer. Ms. Hornbacher's ability to effectively and intelligently convey the thoughts and feelings she went through, during her struggle, is beyond exceptional. This is a MUST READ....more info
  • Very affecting book
    As a bulimic, I agree with some other reviewers that this book is triggering. It also, however, got me to look at my problem more seriously. It's helped me see just what rock bottom for an ED looks like, and I love that she didn't sugar-coat the ending. It's so honest.

    I'm now talking to a therapist about my ED....more info
  • Ick - Zero Stars Would be More Appropriate
    This book is poorly written and rather boring. The author is very self-absobed and somewhat pathetic. I think all she really wanted to emphasis just "how bad off" she was/is. Was she looking for sympathy? I just wanted to shout "grow up and get over yourself" while I was reading this. The footnotes made the book appear to be a poorly-written thesis (I don't think she went to college - too worried about her weight.) She also contradicts herself. She claims that she's a feminist yet all she really wanted was to be the thinnest. Thinness was the only important thing to this person. It probably still is, or she wouldn't have written her memoir. She seems to want to immortalize it. ...more info
  • Wasted
    This was very well written. I had read a book called Running On Empty and didn't think I'd find another book similar to it (or affect me the same way). I'm glad I went ahead and gave this book a try. I didn't like her the first coupld of chapters. No only did I feel disconnected from her, but I also felt like I was going to pass out with the all the grueling details she gave. I stuck with it and pressed on. Before I knew it I was fully emerged into Marya's life journey. I ended the book feeling quite sad, but I'm glad I read it. I certainly have a better prespective on eating disorders....more info
  • Helping readers understand
    I guess the book isn't about saying "to overcome your problem you have to take this and that step", but about having people think about the problem, and coming to terms with it.
    What I'm trying to say is that no one can tell you what you have to do, and how to do it, because everyone has different reactions and point of views - instead the book gives readers a glance into the world of ED, and the purpose is to open other sufferers' eyes, to make them see how they're gonna end up if they don't give up this painful habit.
    It's up to the reader to understand that the power of healing is lying within themselves, and they have to find the strenght to face the problem and call out for help. There's not a recipe to completely recover from the disease, sometimes it takes the whole life to fight against it.
    But some may find it useful to know that there are also other who are suffering from the same problem, and that there are a lot of people ready to help.
    Sarah - Switzerland...more info
  • I thought it was brilliant
    This is one of my favorite books. Depressing, I know. But Marya Hornbacher has an amazing ability to be honest. And people with eating disorders don't always recognize how they feel, and the people around them tend to not have a clue, so this book really informs the sufferer and the friend, confidante, reader, whoever, how this person is function and why they do what they do. She doesn't necessarily tell you how you feel, if you are a sufferer, but she does unabashedly look at herself and it's a liberating read in that sense. However, she is still very dark at the end of the book, and that does seem deterministic, but really, I think as hard as it is, it's also curative to see someone work so hard to get better. And work so hard even if the steps are so small. It helped realize how I felt and how it's not going to be easy, but life is worth living....more info
  • Very unhealthy reading for anyone with an eating disorder
    This book has become the "Bible" for many of those with eating disorders. Many share in groups and on eating disorder websites how they use this book as to motivation get sicker or to stay ill. It is full of tips on not only how to engage in ED behaviors but also how to hide that behavior from not only loved ones but professionals trying to help. The fact that she was not recovered when she wrote this book means it was written from a very unhealthy perspective.

    My personal opinion is that this book was an ode to her eating disorder and was written at a point where she was still very mentally ill and still very much in love with her eating disorder. Like many, I read this book when I was very ill, and while I did not learn any new "tricks" from it I devoured every word because it fed my mental illness.

    Having re-evaluated it as someone fully recovered from an ed I honestly believe that this book serves no other purpose other than to brag about how "sick" and non-compliant she was, very much the MO of anyone who is still very mentally ill and in the depths of an eating disorder.

    I also think that if we could be a fly on the wall (an emotionally healthy fly on the wall) that most would feel that her perception of the truth and what was reality are not exact matches. When someone is so entrenched in their illness it is easy to perceive anyone who tries to pull them out of it as abusive in one form or another. I believe had she written this book in a healthier state of mind her view and understanding of certain events and conversations would probably be very different.

    Honestly, this is a book I wish would disappear. I have never known a professional or anyone who was fully recovered who would recommend this book to anyone....more info
  • I wish there was a 0 stars option!
    I cannot fathom the positive reviews for this self absorbed and obnoxious book. The author is so unlikable it's impossible to care. I hate the effing world thing gets played after 5 pages. Almost as bad as Prozac Nation-which is the worst book ever written. The authors of this book and Prozac Nation should meet up and see who's more self obsessed and self riteous-it would be quite a contest!

    Read Slim to None instead!...more info
  • Ok Book
    This book was a good read, but I would not call it a page-turner. I brought this one to Book Club with around 10 moms and we all said the same thing....more info