Going Hungry: Writers on Desire, Self Denial and Overcoming Anorexia

When Kate Taylor first telephoned about her book, Going Hungry: Writers on Desire, Self Denial and Overcoming Anorexia, I was just coming down after a year of promoting, Lying in Weight. She told me that she had assembled a stellar group of writers to describe their personal experiences of eating disorders — from the distance of recovery. Kate had her own story, replete with an intriguing theory about the role anorexia plays in a person's search for direction: adolescents get caught between the need to be accepted and the desire to stand out. In her view, self-starvation allows both at once.

I was honored to be included in the ranks of gifted contributors Jennifer Egan, Louise Glück, and Joyce Maynard. They offered honest, insightful accounts of the day they began their dark journeys into the thickets of eating disorders and their struggle back out. But more poignant, based on the feedback from Lying in Weight, I simply had more to say.

During my Lying in Weight book tour — my first— I had a chance to experience the impact of my words and stories on readers and listeners. I was moved by the experience of mutuality, after four years alone with my computer, insights and demons. Through those interactions, I realized that work wasn’t complete. Lying in Weight was a catharsis. It propelled me on a personal journey — into a clinical trial for anorexia and osteoporosis, therapy and an ongoing conversation with my daughter, now 12. There began the real growth.

People often view recovery as crossing a line, sick on one side and well on the other. But truly, recovery is a dynamic journey. By participating in this writing project, I could offer teachers, therapists, parents and those who suffer more. Mine is a life lived longer in the vestiges of anorexia. My story fits snugly in the context of Going Hungry, which offers 19 ways that one might walk the path of eating disorders toward contentment.