Review by Peyton

As a queer person suffering from bulimia from the age of 8 (so 12 years now), I really related to big chunks of this book. My first real lesbian relationship ended at the start of February too, just a few months before I started reading Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia, so the heartache Natasha talks about was not only relatable (who DOESN’T find heartache relatable?) but still fresh. This book tore me down when I was incredibly vulnerable, it was a very hard read, but also one that I wanted to continue forever. And then it helped me to put things back together again, but in a different, slightly healthier way. I came out as queer rather than lesbian (the book made me realise how different the two can be and that both were valid and it was okay for me to ID in whatever way feels right) and after a quick dip into WORSE eating disordered behaviours, I finally confronted my need to recover.

I don’t know when I finished the book… August? What I do know is that it’s November and I haven’t purged for two and a half months. I’m finally getting specialist treatment for my ED and of course that’s a big help in recovery, but there were days, particularly at the start of treatment, where I’d leave my session thinking I’d nip into the toilets and purge before my train arrived. Instead I would sit down and read this book and I would be sucked in. I’ve never identified with a protagonist so much before. Natasha is so honest and maybe this is just my interpretation (which would say more about me than the book!) but I think she makes it very clear how bizarre the logic of an eating disorder is – it’s as if you want something (food, normalcy, love) so much that you decide you need to not want it anymore. Of course it then takes an even bigger hold of you. I wouldn’t recommend this book to someone who hadn’t suffered with an eating disorder. It’s the best account of one that I’ve seen (which is funny, because often the ED parts of the book are pushed aside to make room for the feelings, but I think that’s why it’s so powerful – the ED is a symptom of something much bigger) but I couldn’t recommend it to someone who wouldn’t “get” that mindset. The book doesn’t walk you through what an eating disorder is and it doesn’t sugarcoat the ending and leave you thinking “that’s okay then, everything was fine in the end, she snapped out of it” the way a lot of eating disorder memoirs do. It’s honest. It’s a dose of tough love, a reminder about accountability and it has the potential to knock you off your feet and leave you there or pick up right up afterwards and bandage you up. It’s closest to Marya Hornbacher’s Wasted, I’d say, with a little sprinkle of The Bell Jar. That’s a push though, because it’s unlike anything else out there. So often in the queer community, there’s talk about the intersection between female partners’ bodies and eating disorders. It’s something a lot of us struggle with, but nobody wants to formally address it. Reading about it made me finally feel like my feelings were okay and that I could finally overcome them.

I am so thankful for this book. I want to keep on going with recovery so that ten years from now I’ll be alive and I’ll be able to say that this book saved my life. I feel like it already did more for me than years of therapy, medication and hospitalisation did though – when I feel like dipping deep into my ED again, I think back to how bleak this book got and how bleak my LIFE has been. Natasha’s honesty will blow you away, even if it does occasionally hit a nerve.

I will never, ever forget it, and I think writing this has made me convince myself to read it again. Third time! I’m so greatful to Natasha for writing this and I’ll sing its/her praises every chance I get.

Posted on by natasha holme in Reviews

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>