Alex's Reviews > Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain

Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi
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's review
Sep 04, 12

bookshelves: nonfiction
Read in September, 2012

At her lowest weight, Portia de Rossi weighed 82 pounds. Her day consisted of workouts and an obsession with counting calories, and using the same tools (a food scale, chopsticks, a bowl) were just as important as timing when she could eat her meals (though morsels would be a more appropriate word) to maximize calorie burn. It all catches up with her on a movie set, when she faints, her body destroyed by anorexia.

More than chronicling her eating disorder, Portia de Rossi also chronicles the tragedy of self hatred, when crippling insecurity leads you to truly believing you aren't worth even the most basic of necessities. This book has many layers. It is about her eating disorder, her struggles with accepting her sexuality, her insecurities and poor eating habits born from an early modeling career, and more than anything a desire to be loved and appreciated. de Rossi often speaks of her weight loss as work and therefore, expects that people will be proud and dripping with admiration. The writing is quite spectacular, both sympathetic and harsh, a contradiction that highlights de Rossi's struggles.

This is not a happy book, but it is an important book. Her recovery is touched upon in the epilogue, truly keeping the emphasis on her illness. The words she uses are primarily negative, allowing the reader to truly grasp her perspective at the time. It's a harrowing journey for sure, but one that removes the veil from eating disorders.
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