eta: i think it's important to note that this book was first published in 1998 - when things like tumblr did not exist. for a generation that learnedeta: i think it's important to note that this book was first published in 1998 - when things like tumblr did not exist. for a generation that learned to get all information from books, this book was the key to tricks and tips for anorexia. not that you couldn't figure them out for yourself, but if you were on the edge or something, this gave you ways. i don't actually say that this book should be censored, i say i wish there was a way to put warnings on it. i say i think it's an important book for non-ED people - i.e. family and friends. and i do think it's important for people with EDs, i just don't like the framing all that much.
that is a personal preference. see my reviews of elizabeth wurtzel's books - i have issues with people with mental illness who seem to lack agency in getting better. hornbacher isn't 100% committed to getting better at the end of this. she isn't committed to recovery. and that's fine, for her, but i wish she hadn't written it until she was committed. everything else in the book remains true, and i think would have resonated more and been stronger if she was committed - not necessarily a "happily ever after" but a "anything to stop this disease". (the kind of ironic thing is that she does get the happily ever after.)
what i loved about Madness: A Bipolar Life was that i felt like she truly tapped into what was driving her to do the things she did. that she finally was brutally honest, that she committed to getting better. honestly, "crazypeoplememoirs" always walk a fine line between sensationalist literature, victimization, fact and moralizing.
i appreciate the story. i appreciate the willingness to show the bald face of EDs. but i still question why this is the book she chose to write, who she intended her audience to be, and what she hoped to accomplish. because i think the author that wrote wasted would have different opinions than the author of madness, or sane, and i do think that's worth considering.
(and, for the record, i have done extensive work with women in their teens and older with EDs. i said 25 not because i don't think people older can suffer from it, but rather that they are already aware of all the tricks and tips. these illnesses are absolutely devastating, and they exist, and i think there is a balance society needs to start dealing with in terms of celebrating thin women and calling healthy women "fat" or on pregnancy watch, and that this book deals with the "strength" required to have an ED, and not necessarily the elements of self-hatred and comorbid diagnoses and beliefs that lead a lot of women (and men) to develop EDs.)
2005: i think this book should be pulled from the shelves of most bookstores, or at least not giving to anyone under the age of 25, but i am against censorship, so mostly i just wish this wasn't the book she chose to write.
for a non-ED audience, it plays well. the story is gripping, it goes into detail about the horror of living with an ED, it discusses why the ED is so hard to give up.
for the ED audience, the book is literally packed with tricks and tips and ways to cheat and get around your doctors.
hornbacher claims that the point of writing the book was to deglamourize EDs. the problem is, even she, at the end of the book, has not fully committed to giving up her ED. how can you write a book saying there is nothing good about EDs without resolving to give it up yourself? i have heard people talk about how they appreciated her "brutal honesty" - to me it read more as an attention-seeking method of writing. to me, she made herself out as a victim, and she is still a victim at the end - she still does not have control over her disorder.
of course, the ending is very true to real life. recovery is a painful, long process with frequent relapses, especially for those who have been hospitalized. but instead of exploring why that is the case, she spends her time talking about how she cheated the system. she does not give up her basic system of beliefs that "caused" the ED in the first place. she is unapologetic and, to me, paints herself as someone without any agency in the recovery of ED, which infuriates me.
it's sad, because i think she has a lot of really good things to say. she just chooses to take a different route, kind of the sensationalistic route rather than the "de-glamourization" she claims to have wanted. it was disappointing to me, and it was frustrating, and it worried me that kids with ED are recommending this book to each other in order to find tips and "thinspiration". i don't know, i found it profoundly depressing, which hardly ever happens. i guess i just feel like it was such a wasted (pardon the bad pun) opportunity to make a positive impact on the ED community.
(i agree with whoever said stay away from this book if you are in recovery and go visit something-fishy.com instead.)...more
so i decided to give tami hoag another chance, because i couldn't remember why i didn't read all her stuff in the first place.
this book reminded me.so i decided to give tami hoag another chance, because i couldn't remember why i didn't read all her stuff in the first place.
this book reminded me.
this book rang in as a wannabe-grisham-type procedural, instead of a tightly paced thriller, which is what i was expecting. i didn't really care about any of the characters - ellen, jay, tony, the judge, josh, etc. etc. i didn't care about hannah, i didn't care about paul, i didn't care about father tom.
the only thing that kept me going was the fact that i figured there had to be SOME conclusion, and in fact there was, in the traditional thriller-style "heroine has it out in life and death situation with villain". and. yeah, i guess i was expecting more from the plot, especially because it's clear how good she could be - and this is one of her earlier books, so hopefully she has improved. it wasn't bad, it just wasn't really good either. ...more
i started reading Concrete Blonde, and didn't finish. i hated harry borch so much, even though the plot intrigued me. so i was sort of ticked that thi started reading Concrete Blonde, and didn't finish. i hated harry borch so much, even though the plot intrigued me. so i was sort of ticked that this was the only book i had to read, but it surprised me. it was more procedure than plot, and harry wasn't as annoying as usual. i still don't think i'll pick up another one of his books, but hey. it's a start, or something. ...more
another classic book that was formative in my childhood. living on the prairie this time, caddie is a strong female character, with a passionate indepanother classic book that was formative in my childhood. living on the prairie this time, caddie is a strong female character, with a passionate independent streak. loved it, loved it, loved it. i tried to find my copy of it this christmas at home, but couldn't, so i'll have to find another way to read it again and still see if it holds true. ...more
i hated this book. i think i hated it because of the movie we had to watch in school, where they show the dead pilot. i also didn't like the main chari hated this book. i think i hated it because of the movie we had to watch in school, where they show the dead pilot. i also didn't like the main character. at all. so. there you go. i would read it again, but i don't want to. ...more
so i am an adult now and it's been years since i read this. and wow, depressing. the story is told in three parts: the present,[reread february, 2012]
so i am an adult now and it's been years since i read this. and wow, depressing. the story is told in three parts: the present, then a flashback, and then back in the present. the writing is strong and in a manner that appeals to pre-teens, sparse yet full. the story moves quickly but with purpose.
thirteen year old julie runs away from a bad home situation in barrow, alaska. she plans to make it to point hope, where she will get on a plane to go to san francisco and stay with her pen pal, amy.
only julie (miyax) gets lost. she is starving and has found a wolf pack. remembering stories from her father, miyax knows that she can get from the wolves, if only she can communicate with them. george actually did research on wolf communication and wolf/human communication, so there's some sort of scientific basis for the story.
it is also a story of ecosystems and tundras, of humans and civilization and losing land well before this became such a hot button issue. i must admit, during the 2008 elections when it was revealed sarah palin hunted from helicopters/planes, i immediately thought of this book.
there is an implication of marital rape (and julie is thirteen, in an arranged marriage), but i certainly don't think it's explicit enough to warrant censoring. i'm pretty sure the first time i read it i had no idea what was going on - i think just being married at thirteen was enough for me to think someone would want to run away.
this book is a classic for a reason. survival and wolves and a strong female character who really wants to do what is right in life, and doesn't need anyone else to make her happy.
but man, the ending is so ambiguously horribly bleak. no wonder i loved it as a kid.
another survival fourth grade favorite. living on the tundra! with wolves! it's pretty darn awesome. but i hated the ending with a passion, and refuse to read the sequel. ...more
i read this to the little boy i babysit ALL the time. luckily, this is one of the better books for kids out there, and i enjoy it. it speaks to the poi read this to the little boy i babysit ALL the time. luckily, this is one of the better books for kids out there, and i enjoy it. it speaks to the power of a kid's imagination, and what you can do with just a purple crayon. ...more
i read this in fourth grade, and it changed my life. i became obsessed with mythology, and well, as you can tell from my user name, i never quite gavei read this in fourth grade, and it changed my life. i became obsessed with mythology, and well, as you can tell from my user name, i never quite gave up.
it's an excellent overview of basically everything that has to do with greek mythology. it doesn't go into depth about the "characters", but it's necessary for reading other texts. ...more
not too thrilled with this one. i wanted more. i don't know what i wanted, but. set in japan instead of califoWARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD (though minor).
not too thrilled with this one. i wanted more. i don't know what i wanted, but. set in japan instead of california, tally is the most famous person in aya's town, which is all about being popular and famous.
i was sad dr. cable never showed up. however, i LOVED the brief part where tally tries to explain her relationship with shay. genius. not so into frizz, really could have cared less about aya . . .
and i'm a little confused. i thought tally WASN'T a cutter - she got bubbly all on her own, right? so why does she have scars, after she's become a Special? i expect the scars on shay, not on tally. and now i'm all confused and kind of disturbed. but. sometimes i think too much, though if anyone could clarify . . .
also, tally's totally fucking creepy in this book. it's kind of completely awesome that shay is suddenly the voice of reason/not-blowing-shit-up person. hahahah.
really interesting story of three best friends, and their sophomore year (or the australian equivalent).
for english class, the girls are required toreally interesting story of three best friends, and their sophomore year (or the australian equivalent).
for english class, the girls are required to have "pen-friends" at a nearby high school that happens to be the school's rival, where everyone assumes they are criminals. (in fact, the girls prove to be much better at this than the boys.)
in a weird chance of fate, all the girls (cassie, em, and lydia) get paired up with boys.
the story is told through a kind of mixed media, which is neat - the letters between the pen-friends, lydia's The Notebook, cassie's sometimes diary, and other notes and things. so things that em knows on page 5, cassie might not know or react to until page 50, and it's just really kind of great. the story is a bit of a mystery, and the style really lends itself to that.
it's also fun to read about people eating vegemite sandwiches for lunch. ;)
i really enjoyed it, i loved em's scene at the end, charlie and seb and cassie's quietness, and the growth they all realize. it's very subtle at times, which i appreciate. i think it's an excellent book about best friends trying to help each other and sometimes getting things wrong, getting things mixed up, and the different ways we all react to something. definitely a good one. ...more
two things. it was better than i expected. i also absolutely despised the ending.
the writing impressed me - the quiet tone matched the somber decisiotwo things. it was better than i expected. i also absolutely despised the ending.
the writing impressed me - the quiet tone matched the somber decisions that need to be made.
anna was confusing for a long while. i was very irritated with sara, though i do understand. i think brian and jesse were the most honest in the book, and i appreciated it. i could have done without campbell and julia.
i did think it was interesting that we never really heard from kate - or had a section from her POV - when she was the center of the entire story. it reminded me of what faulkner did in The Sound and the Fury, and in a way, these books are comparable.
the ethical and moral questions in this are really thought provoking, and i thought they were handled with grace and aplomb. i did kind of want more exploration of the idea of "designer babies" - but that wasn't this story. this was the story of a family who wanted it all - and by wanting it all, that just meant they wanted each other. ...more
i was alternately enthralled and slightly horrified by this book - you know how certain people have embarrassment squicks? well, she was so brutally hi was alternately enthralled and slightly horrified by this book - you know how certain people have embarrassment squicks? well, she was so brutally honest in this that sometimes i had to put the book down.
but i really really appreciated her honesty. this is the way i like my memoirs - all the neuroses and human qualities that make us who we are.
and it's a lovely story of how we actually work, especially in new york, especially in today's society. excellent, excellent, all around.
(there was also the part that was a little too close to home - her name, the psych courses, etc. but hey! i'm older than her and haven't been married, so i figure i'm somewhat safe.) ...more
update: re-read on august 25, 2008. still great, still makes me homesick, still makes me want to pages. i can't wait for the next kathryn dance book.update: re-read on august 25, 2008. still great, still makes me homesick, still makes me want to pages. i can't wait for the next kathryn dance book. and i love kathryn more than i did before, now that i read The Cold Moon. i want more!!
got it from the library and had to return it before finishing, so then i finished it in a bookstore at the airport during a layover.
the first thing that grabbed my attention was the book's setting - it's my hometown. completely bizarre to read about the main character living in a quirky victorian in pacific grove, and the salinas courthouse and everything else.
the second thing that got me was the fact that the main character is a woman. a pretty strong, intense widow with two kids and a male best friend who is married. (no women's murder club here.)
the third was the quality of the writing - i think deaver just continues to improve. (also, i love the fact there's a mention of lincoln and amelia in new york - though that means kathryn went to new york at some point, so i need to check out the lincoln rhyme books i've skipped.)
and then there's the plot. which just twists and twists and isn't like, terrifying but is steady and smooth in it's twisting and contorting. it's an excellent, excellent story, with excellent research (no hokey-poky psychobabble here) and seriously, i would highly recommend it. i don't love the characters the way i do in karin slaughter's books, but this was the first book outside of the grant county series in this genre that i was actually impressed with in a long, long time. ...more