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Starvation Mode

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  164 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In Starvation Mode: A Memoir of Food, Consumption, and Control, Seattle’s Elissa Washuta—author of 2014’s genre-defying memoir of ethnic identity, sexual trauma, bipolar disorder, and independence, My Body Is a Book of Rules—crafts a personal accounting of her struggle for culinary control, and presents the guidelines she followed as she attempted to shape her body and min ...more
Published June 2015 by /Instant Future/Future Tense Books
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 ·  164 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A turbulent story that swings between love and hate. But instead of a woman and her lover, it's a woman and her food. Washuta's dissection of her history with food, eating, and body image is relentless in its studious extreme close-ups and sweeping wide-angle shots. Written like a book of rules, Starvation Mode is stylistically daring while still being surprisingly personal. ...more
A turbulent story that swings between love and hate. But instead of a woman and her lover, it's a woman and her food. Washuta's dissection of her history with food, eating, and body image is relentless in its studious extreme close-ups and sweeping wide-angle shots. Written like a book of rules, Starvation Mode is stylistically daring while still being surprisingly personal.
May 23, 2022 rated it really liked it
This is really beautifully written and moving. It's maybe not something I would have picked up if I hadn't loved White Magic so much, but I'm glad I did. ...more
Trixie Fontaine
Strange: just noticed this book on my "read" shelf ... but I don't remember it at all. Did I mean "want to read"? Or was it something so short I just forgot its contents?

I want to read it (again) either way, though. Sounds good. But may not be memorable.
HG O'Connell
Aug 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Devastatingly visceral and intimate. I'll read anything by Washuta and this short, powerful tract left me reeling and wanting more. ...more
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
I wish I could remember where ideals about this book so I could go back and chastise whoever wrote he big lying review of it. I can t remember what I read either but it did not lead me to believe that if be reading this. A series of rules of eating based on the life of an adolescent into adulthood. It could have been an interesting commentary on the food and weight loss culture but it wasn't. I'm not sure what it was really. And I read the whole thing.

There were some interesting parts though th
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Clever and devastating, Washuta's second memoir explores the hollow salvation that food promises but rarely provides to our psyches and bodies. ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this little essay-chapbook on an afternoon coffee-shop and bookshop hopping in London because it’s been on my shelf for a year and it’s easy to carry and it was about damn time. Elissa Washuta’s writing always really resonates and is so powerful on a craft level, and this is no exception. It’s basically an abbreviated chronicle of Washuta and America’s broken relationship to food, eating, bodies, ambition, and identity (especially for women). Healing this relationship is kind of impossibl ...more
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: online-by-author
I'm not sure where and who the suggestion to read this book came from, but I put it on my list and paid-for and downloaded it.

This book is triggering as fuck. If you don't have food or eating issues, you will probably be fine. I have no idea why I thought this book would be okay for me to read but it was not. I had to take a huge break shortly into the book. Then I had to finish it all in a rush to get it over with. It was so hard to read.

I don't know if I do or do not recommend this book. It's
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My 5th review star is apparently reserved only for authors who make references to my favorite childhood creature: Alf, smack in the beginning of the book. :) I love and have always been a bit envious of Elissa’s poetic writing style filled with so much gritty human insight. I can’t even fathom the amount of bravery it must take to let people in in that way through writing or any other form of art. This book has such a neatly packed structure, and sentences so dense that they demand a second read ...more
Nels Highberg
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Another one I wish I could give a 3.5. I've been reading some experimental, lyric, and poetic memoirs, and this pops up on a lot of lists. The structure is key to this book. Washuta presents a series of rules in part one she then challenges in part three, but it felt like part three was much shorter when it was actually the most fascinating section. Lots of interesting images and ideas run throughout, though. ...more
Valarie Smith
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is my biggest surprise of the year. I have zero interest in reading about women and our relationship to food - I’m just so tired of it all - and yet Starvation Mode lays it so bare, revealing the undertow of decisions and judgments that jerk and heave women all day long. It’s astonishing that such a rich, powerful read can be contained within 50pp.
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Elissa is my favorite essayist. Her writing can be really difficult to get through emotionally at times because of how open and revealing it is, so I loved how this book was broken into bite-sized pieces. No pun intended. Highly recommend all of her work.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Published by Instant Future, an eBook imprint from Future Tense Books, thus fulfilling the "Read a book published by a micropress" category of the Read Harder Challenge. Bonus: I liked this sharp little book very much. ...more
Rachael Walker
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A tiny, powerful book. I lost myself here and felt keenly the comfort and discomfort of food and nourishment, of the difficult business of staying whole but only whole enough.
Not Mike
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
E book
Izzy Leslie
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My absolute favorite books combine poetry with essay and this lil bb book does so beautifully. This book made my heart ache as a woman who is all too familiar disordered eating.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book presents some heart-wrenching issues with cleverness and wit, but without self-pity. The book is relatable to anyone grappling with health challenges.
Aug 20, 2018 added it
Mostly, this book made me angry. Or rather let me say, I just finished the book, and I am angry. I’m angry at men, both thoughtless men and manipulative men. I’m angry about the male gaze. I’m angry at body norms and advertisers and all kinds of things. But I don’t know if this is right. Washuta shows you things in this book, but then immediately undercuts the easy interpretation. Does my anger here allow for her agency? I don’t know, but I suspect that this reaction is placing her in some kind ...more
Margaret Adams
I was introduced to Washuta's work after attending a reading she did at Hugo House in Seattle several years ago. Since then I've read both 'My Body is a Book of Rules' and now 'Starvation Mode.' I hope she has a third book in progress because I want to keep reading her work. I love the length and structure of this book, and I'm glad that someone is publishing work that falls into a less traditional, novella-like category. A great read. ...more
Carla Blaschka
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Funny, poignant and short. Elissa gives us a bird's eye view of the rules, constant but every changing rules she had for eating. A fun addition to her first book, My Body is a Book of Rules, this is another bite of Elissa's life, Make it last, and ask for more. ...more
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A really fantastic piece of memoir. I am the editor of the Instant Future eBooks series—of which this is a part—and I can't tell you how happy I am to be a part of sharing it with readers. Elissa is the real deal. ...more
#readharder #indiepress
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays, memoir
Read this jawn and read it now. Visceral, smart, and it swings. Get it.
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Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of Starvation Mode and My Body Is a Book of Rules, named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. With Theresa Warburton, she is co-editor of the anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State ...more

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