Walking into a bookstore today a person can find a number of books to hold his or her interest. Many people like tales of horror or epic romances; but if real life drama keeps is what keeps the reader turning the pages, then “Wasted” by Marya Hornbacher is as real as it gets.. Hornbacher makes you feel as though you were right there with her throughout all of her hard times. This memoir of a young woman’s battle with anorexia nervosa and bulimia will keep you wanting more long after you close the book. Hornbacher wrote a great, life saving story about the devastating effect that the cultural obsession with thinness can have on the self-image of a woman.
This book gives the reader a good glance at how wrong the textbook definition or criteria of a person with anorexia and/or bulimia can be. Most people think that these disorders start at around age fifteen and may continue into their early twenties until medical help can be received. For most women, this has proven to be true, but an eating disorder can appear at any age, to any race or gender and for no apparent reason, other than a dieting fad gone wrong. In the author’s case, she pushed every limit. Leaning over a toilet and sticking her fingers down her throat until she spat blood, she became a severe bulimic at the young age of nine. Hornbacher gives excellent information throughout her book about both types of eating disorders (EDs), as well as gives strong examples of what she went through to conquer both of them.

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During the two hundred and thirty-nine pages of wasted, your mind never quits seeing what Marya Hornbacher went through. Her words were so clearly written that you can’t help but let them paint a picture in your head of her past. I think that this was one of the best things about the book. Not only did it explain very clearly what her teenage years were made up of, but also each chapter is a group of years. So she breaks down which eating disorder occurred when and why. All throughout this memoir, she refers back to clips from Alice in wonderland. I like this a lot because it gives you a clue as to what she felt like during this time. “Alice ran across the field after the white rabbit, and was just in time to see him pop down a large hole. In another moment down she went after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.” I think this was a good example of how she might have felt in the beginning stages of her eating disorders. She never realizes that one decision to throw up or not eat would change the rest of her life.
This book told the ups and downs of a young girls life with anorexia and bulimia. She has stated that she wanted to die during those years and very much welcomed the grim reaper with a smile. Then towards the end chapters of the book, she begins to tell of her life with her husband and how much he loves her. She told him that she would die before him because of all the damage she did to her body during her teen years. Her heart was weak with an arrhythmia and her blood pressure very low. It was a good move on her part not only to include the dangers to your health while under the influence of an eating disorder but also to tell how it will ultimately affect you in the long run. She knows that the damage she did to her heart and mind could not be repaired. Every morning she woke up taking her pulse to make sure she would make it through the day but still stood on the scale and looked at her butt in a mirror. She did a great job explaining how even though she is a recovering anorexic/bulimic, the dangers are still very real and she still experiences the same thought process that she had all those years ago.
In conclusion, this book was an interesting story from beginning to end. It gave straightforward information on the two most common eating disorders with no sugar coating. She tells of her addiction to food, and the lack there of throughout her life. All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone because of the way Hornbacher draws her readers into her life and doesn’t let go. She wrote the book in hopes that it may save someones life someday and I have a feeling that it will.
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