Marya's story gathers intensity with each passing year. By the time she is in college and working for a wire news service in Washington D.C., she is in the grip of a bout of anorexia so horrifying that it will forever put to rest the romance of wasting away. Down to 52 pounds and counting, Marya becomes a battlefield: her powerful death instinct at war with the will to live.
Why would a talented young girl go through the looking glass and slip into a netherworld where up is down, food is greed, and death is honor? Why enter into a love affair with hunger, drugs, sex, and death? Marya Hornbacher sustained both anorexia and bulimia through 5 lengthy hospitalizations, endless therapy, the loss of family, friends, jobs, and ultimately, any sense of what it means to be "normal." In this vivid, emotionally wrenching memoir, she recreates the experience and illuminates the tangle of personal, family, and cultural causes underlying eating disorders.
©1998 Marya Hornbacher; (P)1998 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.
By the end I wanted more and am definitely considering buying another of her books. Some parts of the book shocked me and made me feel a little sad but the poetic writing of the scenes she sets really drew me in plus it was quite fascinating hearing of the life of an anorexic. (It took me a few chapters to get used to the story and her narration but worth the wait)
In “Wasted,” Marya Hornbacher’s battle with her body is nothing short of epic, but unlike a true epic it is far from heroic. Hornbacher is the unlikely antagonist in her own life story, hating her body to the very brink of death. “Wasted” captures every dramatic, painful and often repulsive detail. If you can bear to look at it, you will glimpse in raw form the gruesome reality of eating disorders. There is no glamor here. There is hunger, vomit, blood and bones.
This abridged version of “Wasted,” read by Hornbacher herself, is so seamless that I did not even realize it was abridged until I discovered this fact in another listener’s review. Hornbacher is the perfect narrator. No other reader could get this story so right.
If you are hoping for a happy ending, Hornbacher advises you to look elsewhere. She denies the existence of a happy ending to her story, claiming that the best one can hope for in the end is simply “letting go.”
But here is a secret – many years have passed since this book was written. During those years Hornbacher continued to struggle with her eating disorder, and she came face to face with a terrible mental illness that left her grasping for sanity and hope (see “Madness: A Bipolar Life). In the end, she managed to do better than just let go. She conquered and overcame. And, lucky for the rest of us, she lived to write about it.
I love this book, so I jumped at the chance to hear the author read it. I do wish it was unabridged, however, as there are some really good, key parts that are missing--things I really wanted to hear her say.
"Intense, painful, mandatory reading"
This is a subject every caring person should try to understand. Having know bulemics I cared about I have tried to understand - but still do not. This book brings me closer to an understanding. However, the insight is only a feeling and a glimpse.
Marya's writing reminds me of Mary Karr (Liar's Club and Cherry). At times the narrative becomes poetry. It is a pleasure to listen to at the same time as the content makes one mad.
This is another illustration of the superiority of audio books. I have not attempted to read this book, but I confidently predict that it is many times more powerful to hear Marya tell you the story in her own words. Like Mary Carr, Bill Bryson and many others, hearing an author read their own words adds an extra dimension and, in the case of Mary and Marya, can elevate the book to a different plane.
I've read this book atleast 3 times. The book itself is written to not keep any part of bulimia or anorexia hidden. It explains all and every feeling imagined and felt. When I had the chance to download this book with Marya's own voice reading her own words, it was a chance to listen to how she speaks. Her words, sometimes haunts, sometimes makes me speak outloud to nobody, saying things like, "Yes, that's true." It's an amazing book to have on audio. Download this book, and listen to it. You'll be glad you did.
"Quick read, hard to put down"
If you're like me and you find mental illness fascinating this is a really well written first person account of what it's like to struggle with Anorexia Nervosa. It's interesting to see how an eating disorder begins and spirals out of control.
I saw a documentary with this author recently where she stated that she was young when she wrote this book and it triggered her eating disorder. Perhaps that is why there are many people who consider this entire book a trigger and have mixed emotions about it. I'd be interested to read her take on the events now, many years later, as recovered as anyone could be.
"Fascinating story of obsession and self-loathing"
This was a really interesting memoir, with a real insider's view of the anorexia and bulemia. I have never had an eating disorder, so I have always wondered what could drive a person to commit a long, torturous suicide in this way. I felt I had learned something after listening to this book, while also being entertained from beginning to end. I almost wish there was a follow-up memoir to find out what happens to her later in life.
No. Everything pertinent is left out and I was beyond disheartened when one of my top 3 books was butchered. Bad call.
Great charisma, but the throwing away of 50% of her amazing (in book) biography hurt me.
yes and no
GET AN UNABRIDGED VERSION!!!
"Tells the brutal truth"
This is #2
This is a true story about the authors battle with eating disorders.
Her voice helps bring out the emotions better.
This is a great book for those trying to understand the mind of a person with an eating disorder and for those who are battling one themselves.
"Actual truth of Eating Disorders"
This is not suppose to be an uplifting book, this is suppose to be a book to show the honest truth of the thoughts, actions and feelings of those that have Eating Disorders. Having suffered myself I related to some of what she said although mine was no where as severe as hers. What Marya does is describe it in such a way that whether or not you have suffered any type of disordered eating you will feel that you are her, that you are going through what she is going through. Eating disorders are not how books with simple "warning signs" are about. It's what goes on in your head and Marya describes it so honestly and perhaps what people don't really want to know.
"An Excellent Window..."
Into the life of an anorexic, bulimic. For those of us who can't imagine a compulsion to starve it is almost incomprehsible. I was struck by how functional the writer was even during her worst times..Excelling in theatre, writing and more...She doesn't give herself enough credit for that. I think all mothers of teen girls should make time for this story..there is a lot to learn regarding what NOT to do and say to our daughters..
"Close to my heart"
Such a heart-rending memoir, but such a favourite of mine. It has all the poetic beauty of Plath and the gritty realism of Irivine Welsh. Thank you, Marya, for sharing your story and letting us know we're not alone.
"Fascinating Story, Beautifully Read by the Author"
The book offers a unmatched look inside the mind of a person with an eating disorder, and the consequences that follow.
There are moments where you can see right into the mind of the author, and you can feel the full range of her emotions, her pain, her desire to live. You will understand her and not understand her at the very same time.
Read with character and conviction, so full of life. Only the author could give such a convincing performance/
"Raw, damaged and beautiful autobiography"
This is my favourite of the year.I listen to it3x a week.
It's brutally honest,raw&was clearly painful to write about yet is so eye opening,it draws you in and shows how poetic destruction can be.
The only thing better than reading Wasted is having Marya Hornbacher read Wasted to you. She is a natural storyteller.
"Quite an eye opener!"
Ok when you fancy a bit of a different track from chick lit! Scary but not so very rare story these days. Food for thought!
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