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Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating Disorder

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  364 ratings  ·  70 reviews
"Every day, meal by meal, millions of people suffer from eating disorders. I am one of them."

Nadia Shivack was fourteen years old when she met Ed, her eating disorder. Sometimes like an alien in her body, sometimes like a lover, Ed was unpredictable and exciting, but ultimately always dangerous and destructive.

At an inpatient unit unit of a hospital where she was taken
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published July 24th 2007 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  364 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Macklin R
Jumbled illustrations, and hard to read text. That being said, I feel like I would have fallen in love with some of Nadia's portraits if I'd seen them blown up on a wall as an art piece. They were just too difficult to parse through on the page of a book.
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
Wish this had been better. The kind of graphic novel that deserves to be in schools, etc...except it's just not that well done. The text around the drawings is dense and largely skippable, and I was never really drawn in to her problem, or felt that I understood.
Jon Nakapalau
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Ed" (a manifestation of an eating disorder) tells Nadia what she thinks she needs to hear...but "Ed" should really be called "Id"...something Nadia needs to discover quickly.
Brittany Becker
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it

"Day by day, meal by meal, millions of girls and women in the United States struggle with eating disorders." This is the opening statement in the book, Inside Out. The author, Nadia Shivack, explains that she is one of these struggling women. The author takes the readers through her life, which portrays her continuous struggle with eating disorders. She describes how either food or weight loss is on her mind and how it started taking over her life. She includes her thoughts and feelings
Becky R.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was a bit manic in the way it was put together and told. I realize that might have been the tone the author wanted to get across, to go along with the way they felt descending into this disorder. I suppose that my biggest hang up with the way it pulled together was the pictures. The narrative voice felt like an adult's voice, but the pictures were all children's drawings/sketches pretty much. The information then came in small text boxes that felt important, but just not with as much weight ...more
Nov 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ages 12 and up
Shelves: graphic-novels
This mostly-visual memoir from Nadia Shivack, written on various papers and napkins, is about her lifelong battle with anorexia and bulimia. The book's strength is its unflinching honesty: it is hard to read Nadia's words of self-loathing and see, through her drawings, the extent of her inner turmoil. Although many of us know intellectually the aspects of eating disorders, this book will make the emotional side hit home -- how "eating disorders are not due to a failure of will or behavior. They ...more
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
I hate to give this two stars. I know it has an important message to pass on but I wasn't too fond of the illustrations or the text. The drawings looked like something a first grader would draw. I hate to be picky about it, but they are just not appealing to the eye and so it pulled me away from the story. The text was just as bad and hard to read at times. It was so jumbled and looked like the author had carried a crayon with her at all times. These drawings were all made on napkins and it was ...more
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Grace by: Barberton Public Library
It has been a long time since I read this, but I remember liking this book very much. A unique and raw look at the life of a person with an eating disorder.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

In Nadia Shivack's heartbreaking true story, she tells the world about her life-long problem with eating disorders. Told with a mixture of text and pictures drawn by Ms. Shivack, her preoccupation with food began when her mother told her that not only did she not dress like a girl, but that she was also getting chunky. Her parents had their own problems - her father was overly critical and her mother, a Holocaust survivor, refused to let her three children leav
Jun 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: art therapy, psychology, self-help, healing, eating disorder sufferers
Shelves: own-read, favorites
This was an exceptional book, beautifully and creatively illustrated. The illustrations were wonderful, so insightful and interesting to contemplate. I love art therapy so naturally this is no surprise. The only drawback is that I wish the author would have gone even deeper into her feelings, aside from the eating disorder. She made it very clear her ED was driven by other feelings, besides food, which as a recovered ED sufferer I know this. There were other personal issues hinted at that I wish ...more
Jessica Bingham
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
I picked this book up because I was working on a graphic novel display for our teens. I flipped through the pages and was immediately intrigued. This graphic novel is written and illustrated by a woman who has been stuggling with Bulima since she was very young. She says that she first remembers hiding candy in a drawer in her room when she was seven. Her mother was a Holocaust survivor so there was a great importance placed on food while she was growing up. She gets involved in swimming, and mo ...more
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Okay, this one confused the HECK out of me because my library had it in the Juvenile section -- like in the low-to-the-ground shelves of picture books for very, very young readers.

I'm confused, because the size, shape, and format of the book SEEMS like it is attempting to appeal to those that are very young. But once I read this little story, I'm not sure I'd even necessarily recommend it for YA readers, let alone little tiny kids.

The art is interesting -- but it feels very dark and creepy, whi
Yvonne Powderly
Oct 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Nadia Shivack’s heartbreaking true story is about her lifelong battle with anorexia and bulimia. The book is unflinching honest; the raw, graphic drawings convey the depression, anxiety, despair, and self-loathing that characterized her life. It is hearth wrenching to read Nadia's words and see, through her drawings, the extent of her inner turmoil. Although we know the hard clinical facts about the aspects of eating disorders, this book make the emotional side hit.
Told with a mixture of text an
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book to pieces. I can barely even manage to express how much joy and sadness this brought to me.. this book is the story of the author, Nadia Shivack. The book is rather short, and mainly crayon looking drawings she drew on napkins and notebook paper while in treatment for her anorexia. The drawings are very abstract in a way, and truly show how it feels/how it is to have anorexia, among other things. There's just so many feelings within this book, I literally had to set ...more
Feb 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This book has me tittering on whether or not I liked it. Coming from a background where I myself understand an eating disorder I can view it as she did, but I don't believe if my background was different that I would have a similar. It's shocking to me that "Seven million women and one million men suffer from eating disorders"(unmarked) every year because the book portrays the idea of solitary so well that this single fact is mind blowing. The art work also complements the underlying idea that e ...more
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
It was an outstanding book but sad at the same time. i loved this book because it truely opened my mind about what people with eating disorder go through it's not what i just thought "Oh they just make them self throw up to be skin" it's more then that it's actually something thats hard for them to go through because it's like a drug to them that they can't stop taking. i would strongly advice people to take their time out on a day to read this book even if your already reading a book to stop an ...more
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nadia Shivack's "Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating Disorder" chronicles her struggle w/ bulimia from her teen years until her 40th birthday. The book is multigenre, utilizing elements of cartoons, such as speech bubbles; elements of infodoodles; elements of memoir; and embedded research. It's an excellent mentor text and is a book I've used w/ students to show them that the process of research writing can take many forms other than a traditional essay.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Some readers may look at the GN format of this book and think it is for younger readers.

It definitely gets into some of the challenges of eating disorders.

Definitely an accessible format for teens about an important topic.
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it
whoa, this was dark. the art really puts you inside the head of a woman torn apart by self-loathing.
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it
(Reluctant Readers, non-fiction)

Presented in picture book format, Inside Out deals with one woman’s life-long struggle with an eating disorder. Her drawings of the “E.D” (Eating Disorder) monster living inside of her are poignant. She shares exactly how she felt as she faced food and what would run through her mind as she struggled not to eat. My only complaint is that the author makes the struggle to get better seem a bit pointless. She explains how she has been to rehab multiple times since th
Daniel Loendorf
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was pretty decent. Inside Out is about the author Nadia who explains that she has an eating disorder. She explains that having an eating disorder is not as easy to get a rid of as many people say. When she was twelve she had a best friend named Amy and she was always on a diet. It made Nadia jealous. Nadia's eating disorder began when she joined a competitive swimming team. The eating disorder started because of the pressure from the athletic events. She had a problem with a thing call ...more
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was a bit manic in the way it was put together and told. I realize that might have been the tone the author wanted to get across, to go along with the way they felt descending into this disorder. I suppose that my biggest hang up with the way it pulled together was the pictures. The narrative voice felt like an adult's voice, but the pictures were all children's drawings/sketches pretty much. The information then came in small text boxes that felt important, but just not with as much weight ...more
Dawn Strake
Apr 23, 2015 rated it liked it
After finishing this book, I had mixed feelings. I was unsure if I liked it even though I read it straight through and couldn't put it down. The storyline is of a girl named Nadia who deals with ED (her eating disorder) almost her entire life. The book starts by telling about her awareness of food when she was only six. The book shows her emotional struggle with food well into her forties. The struggle and feelings shown throughout this book are real. The empathy I felt for Nadia was painful. It ...more
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it
My Rating: 3.75 stars

This book is a graphic novel memoir by Nadia Shivack that takes us through her journey with her eating disorder, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

This was a hard one for me to read. At just 64 pages, it's easy to get the idea that this will be a light read. It isn't so. I did finish this one in one day, but not in one sitting as I had originally intended. At times, it got so dark, that I had no choice but to put it down.

I am a person that has had a
Hyun Mo
Apr 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I was first attracted by the book due to its front cover and title, 'Inside Out'. What would the book be about?
However, as soon as I started reading, the images and pictures really grabbed me - in a negative way. I was disturbed by the pictures and illustrations, which filled the whole book as it was a graphic novel.
To shortly introduce the book, the general plot is about eating disorders, such as anorexia. The author, Nadia Shivack, is both the narrator and protagonist in the book, who experi
Jun 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Nadia’s mother, a survivor of the Holocaust, only ate one meal a day and refused to talk about her past with her family. Her swim coach praised the thin girls on the team and criticized the ones who “needed to lose weight.” With these pressures, Nadia turned to her friend Ed (eating disorder) to take care of her. As the story progresses Nadia’s “friend,” bulimia, turns into an uncontrollable monster that brings her only loneliness and shame. The reader discovers Nadia’s journey towards recovery ...more
Nadia became deeply aware of food when she was only six years old. She remembers tense family meals, an overbearing father, a mother with strange eating habits, and a thin-is-beautiful environment. Her eating disorder would take full bloom at age fourteen. Sometimes Nadia feels her eating disorder is a safe haven; other times she knows it is killing her. This intense memoir is raw but honest, with fantastic art that expresses Nadia’s demons, her strengths, and her road to recovery from bulimia a ...more
Angela Wilson
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
The only thing particularly good about this book is that it was short. This was the quickest overview into a woman's journey with an eating disorder that I have ever read. I didn't even really look at the pictures or read what they said because the print was too tiny and pushed together that it was hard to discern. It somewhat freaked me out that the author is past her forties and still dealing with her E.D. Sometimes you think that it's a disorder that only affects high school/college age peopl ...more
Sarah Sadie.Starts.Again
Dec 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was quite disappointed by this book on a few different levels. Firstly, I hadn’t realised it was a graphic novel of sorts when I ordered it, & as that really isn’t my thing at all I was quite put off by that. But that wasn’t the book’s fault!

Obviously I can’t really judge it on its graphic merits as I don’t have any real knowledge of that genre. But visually I didn’t find it too impressive. What I feel I can judge it on is the subject matter, having read a number of books in the same vein as
Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
The story of Nadia's ongoing battle with ED (eating disorder) is presented with hand drawn pictures interspersed with statistics. The drawings convey the confusion, pain, anxiety, and other stark feelings she experienced. My one complaint is sometimes I had difficulty reading the words. I know you can get the gist but being able to read the words would have been nice since she did take the time to write them. I would have liked to see a better ending to the story but the reality is that many tim ...more
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Nadia Shivack was born in Flushing, New York, but grew up in Manhattan. She studied at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the City College of New York, and Columbia University, where she focused on occupational therapy. She now lives in Tuscon, Arizona, where she makes jewelry, and draws and paints when she has the courage.

Nadia has just completed a program a

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