Friday, November 5, 2010
Simon and Schuster Canada
Thank you so much to Anneliese from Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this book!
Unbearable Lightness was a compelling read, in fact I read it in just 3 days. Portia De Rossi has always been fascinating to me, she changed her name at 15 from Amanda Rogers to the more exotic Portia De Rossi on a whim, she is married to one of the most powerful lesbian celebrities out there, and she is a pretty good actress to boot. I thought her book would be more about her coming out as a celebrity, but what it really is about is her horrific battle with anorexia and bulimia.
This book is very painful and difficult to read at times. Portia has said that she did not want to write the book from the perspective of a healthy person writing about their eating disorder in the past tense, instead she dove back into her life as it was and spoke in the insane justifying language that I can only imagine most women with this disorder use. I had no idea that there was such obsession every second of everyday with counting calories and what food was digesting and what it was doing to the fat or lack thereof in her body. Eating her food with only chopsticks and making sure that the size of food on her chopsticks was never higher than the width of the utensil. Refusing to use toothpaste as she was terrified of ingesting any unnecessary calories. In the end she was restricting her calorie intake to an unbelievable 300 calories per day!
She claims that her disorder started quite innocently when she was twelve and blames it on modeling. While I am not discounting that at all, as the modeling world was and is brutal to very young girls about their bodies, what I find interesting is that in her interviews and even in her book she seems to avoid putting any blame on her mother's obvious contribution to her illness. At the age of 12 her mother would comment on her being slightly overweight and emphasize that she needed to be thinner to get jobs, and then would give her dieting "tips" on how to cut calories and exercise to lose weight. She was TWELVE. There seemed to be a sick connection between her mother and her when it came to weight loss, her mother would celebrate weight loss with her, and be quick to point out that she needed to lose weight and swoop in with suggestions. Even though at one point in the book she does mention her mother's influence with some emotion, she never really says that this had a huge affect on her eating or in her case NOT eating.
Her book at the end of it all is an extremely powerful message to any woman who struggles not to define herself by her beauty, weight, or looks in general. This is a powerful read but not for the faint of heart. My only worry in reading it is with so much detail in exactly what, when, and how much Portia ate every day to equal 300 calories and to subsequently reach a deadly 82 pounds, that she has unwittingly given women with eating disorders an exact plan to follow. She describes how she would take one packet of oatmeal, a sprinkle of splenda, and a spray of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, or Jello with a spray of the butter for example. I suppose for the number of women and girls she will undoubtedly help, it may be worth the risk, who knows?
Her writing style is very good and in her interview with Ellen yesterday both had said she wrote every single solitary word, and I have to say kudos to her as it was a very well written account of her struggle.
For more information about eating disorders and how you can help or begin your recovery visit: http://www.nedic.ca/ in Canada or http://www.feast-ed.org/FEAST.aspx in the US, there are many organizations and support groups out there to help.
If you are stopping by from The Hop.... WELCOME!!!! I just love Blog Hop, I have met some fantastic people and visited some terrific blogs as a result!
Here's this weeks question:
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!