Brave Girl Eating: A Family's Struggle with Anorexia Paperback – Sept. 13 2011
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- Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (Sept. 13 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 006172548X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0061725487
- Item Weight : 213 g
- Dimensions : 13.49 x 1.65 x 20.32 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #84,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
“What sets this book apart is the author’s incorporation of clinical research findings from the field of eating disorders into the story of one family’s struggle . . . [A] compelling story of family strength and an inspiring story for all of us committed to treating individuals with eating disorders.” (Evelyn Attia, MD, Director, Center for Eating Disorders, Columbia University Medical Center, Weill Cornell Medical College)
“One of the most up to date, relevant and honest accounts of one family’s battle with the life threatening challenges of anorexia. Brown has masterfully woven science, history and heart throughout this compelling and tender story. Brave Girl Eating was fortunate to have one brave family.” (Lynn S. Grefe, Chief Executive Officer, National Eating Disorders Association)
“Harriet Brown is an intelligent, elegant writer and this book offers both solace and useful information for families struggling with eating disorders.” (Audrey Niffenegger)
From the Back Cover
I’ve never had anorexia, but I know it well. I see it on the street, in the gaunt and sunken face, the bony chest, the spindly arms of an emaciated woman. I’ve come to recognize the flat look of despair, the hopelessness that follows, inevitably, from years of starvation. I think: That could have been my daughter. It wasn’t. It’s not. If I have anything to say about it, it won’t be.
In this emotionally resonant and compelling memoir, journalist and professor Harriet Brown takes readers—moment by moment, spoonful by spoonful—through her family’s experience with the nightmare of anorexia. A guiding light for anyone touched by this devastating disease, Brave Girl Eating is essential reading for families and professionals alike.
Top reviews from Canada
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Amazing work Harriet Brown!!!
Top reviews from other countries
My husband and I read Brave Girl Eating when we began our recovery process with our daughter in 2014. I enjoyed the book, but was in denial that my then 15 year old daughter would ever get as bad as Kitty. Two and-a-half years later, I re-read the book, because my daughter’s life spiraled downward and was equally as challenging and heartbreaking.
Harriet Brown does an exceptional job of articulating how difficult this journey is for both the patient and the family. No one chooses an eating disorder. It chooses you. Harriet’s assessment is quite accurate.
As for the comments here that overbearing and controlling mothers/parents are responsible for causing their children’s eating disorders, shame on you for promoting erroneous information. The Academy of Eating Disorders (AED) recently released a position paper that clarifies the role of the family in the acquisition of eating disorders. The paper points out that there is no data to support the idea that anorexia or bulimia are caused by a certain type of family dynamic or parenting style. Alternatively, there is strong evidence that family-based treatment for younger patients, implemented early on in their illness, leads to positive results and improvements in conjunction with professionally guided family intervention. While parents and families are not to blame for eating disorders, they can play a role in helping kids establish a positive body image, one of the most important protective factors against eating disorders.
Brave Girl Eating is a primer of what you can expect. Read the book, take the advice. Eating disorders can place a heavy burden on the family dynamics. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TRAVEL THIS JOURNEY ALONE. Aside from the professionals your child sees, make sure that you connect with other parents for moral support. And above all be your child’s advocate. Read. Study. Learn. Educate yourself to the point that you can ask educated questions and feel comfortable with the answers. No one will love and support your child like you do. The most successful restoration cases are the ones where the patient and family are strongly connected and dedicated to recovery. Good luck.
Second, I understand that this is a family's personal experience and does not necessarily represent the best treatment form. I looked at it like a case study of what one family went through.
This book is meant to represent a family's journey with anorexia, relying on the Maudsley method for treatment. This is a plan based on a family system of treatment, relying on the system (aka the family) to adjust so the destructive and dangerous behaviors of anorexia will be reduced and extinguished. Throughout the course of the book, the author explains over and over again how this method is the best method available. And it may be; however, the book doesn't do much to include the whole family in it's explanations or treatment. It seems like it's Kitty and mom against the world with little mention of the other family members. The accounts which include Kitty's dad were few and Kitty's sister isn't included at all unless it's an emotional or difficult response to the family's situation. For a family centered treatment, you didn't see much of the family centered treatment.
Another point on the book is that it is only from the mother's perspective. For ANY family, a mother's perspective on a situation will likely be different from other members of the family. Kitty's perspective is not represented. I undestand that this is more of an observational account but I wish it included more of Kitty's perspective and feelings.
Finally, when Kitty has a difficult time, her mom has a name for her: "Not-Kitty". Everytime she lashes out or has emotional outbursts, she is "Not-Kitty". I found the dissassociation rather disturbing because I would think Kitty herself would not want to be regarded in such a manner. I understand that this is a written account so it's possible this clarification of "Kitty" (the good, obedient and happy child) from "Not-Kitty" (the controlling, manipulative and angry child) may be for the reader's benefit. But I don't think it is. I think the mom was quite literally dissassociating one set of behaviors from the other. And MAYBE this is a clinically based move, based on similar notions of calling someone a "child with anorexia" rather than the "anorexic child". But I can't possibly see how this label benefits Kitty or the family in some manner. The feelings, responses, and behaviors are literally happening and are real. So saying this person reacting is "Not-Kitty" was mostly sad to me.
This is just my opinion though. I hope the family does find success and feel peace with their journey against anorexia.