Marya Hornbacher has had an eating disorder for most of her life. I think she wrote this memoir when she was 21 or something like that, and her earliest memories of bulimia reach back to her pre-teens, which is frightening.
She writes about her experiences with both anorexia and bulimia with lovely prose and switches often between first-person and second-person; there's an immediacy about this book that is both gripping and horrifying.
I am guessing that pretty much everyone who has read this LJ knows that my roommate consonantia has bulimia and that I adore food, though I think anyone would be shocked by this book. I went through it quickly, often with my hand over my mouth because it was so difficult reading about someone hurting herself so very badly.
There's one point in the book where Hornbacher is accepted into a prestigious art school, and there, she starts running 25 miles a day and weighs around .. I can't remember, but some horrifically small number, and I was sitting there, thinking, "Oh my God, how could someone do this to herself?" Except, it's not even halfway through the book, and things get much worse.
Hornbacher writes without pity and with brutal honesty about herself, her family dynamics and her subsequent attitudes toward food and her body, and culture as well. She frequently slipped into somewhat manic states, especially later on, when she was only eating about 100 calories a day.
It's a terrifying book about one woman's battle with her body and very, very highly recommended.