Good Girls: A Story and Study of Anorexia (Hardcover)
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From Hadley Freeman, bestselling author of House of Glass, comes a “riveting” (The New York Times) memoir about her experience as an anorexic and her journey to recovery.
In 1995, Hadley Freeman wrote in her diary: “I just spent three years of my life in mental hospitals. So why am I crazier than I was before????”
From the ages of fourteen to seventeen, Freeman lived in psychiatric wards after developing anorexia nervosa. Her doctors informed her that her body was cannibalizing her muscles and heart for nutrition, but they could tell her little else: why she had it, what it felt like, what recovery looked like. For the next twenty years, Freeman lived as a “functioning anorexic,” grappling with new forms of self-destructive behavior as the anorexia mutated and persisted. Anorexia is one of the most widely discussed but least understood mental illnesses. Through “sharp storytelling, solid research and gentle humor” (The Wall Street Journal), Freeman delivers an incisive and bracing work that details her experiences with anorexia—the shame, fear, loneliness, and rage—and how she overcame it. She interviews doctors to learn how treatment for the illness has changed since she was hospitalized and what new discoveries have been made about the illness, including its connection to autism, OCD, and metabolic rate. She learns why the illness always begins during adolescence and how this reveals the difficulties for girls to come of age. Freeman tracks down the women with whom she was hospitalized and reports on how their recovery has progressed over decades.
Good Girls is an honest and hopeful story of resilience that offers a message to the nearly 30 million Americans who suffer from eating disorders: Life can be enjoyed, rather than merely endured.
About the Author
Hadley Freeman is a staff writer for The Sunday Times in the UK. She was born in New York and lives in London. Her books include Life Moves Pretty Fast and the bestselling House of Glass, and her work has appeared in Vogue US and UK, New York magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and many other publications.
"Though there is no shortage of memoirs about anorexia, the sharp storytelling, solid research and gentle humor in Good Girls make it especially appealing. And Ms. Freeman has some good advice for parents." —Wall Street Journal
"Riveting" — The New York Times
"This searing memoir from a recovered anorexic, which explores the warped thinking around the illness, should be required reading....Freeman is a brave, illuminating and meticulous reporter and uses her experience wisely." — The Guardian
"Freeman evokes the mental processes of anorexia extraordinarily well, and her candor will make a great many people feel less lonely...It’s impassioned, a sort of manifesto, and we should take it to heart." — Los Angeles Review of Books
"Blending autobiography and journalism, Freeman sheds light on a dark subject – anorexia and self-hatred among teenage girls. Written with her trademark verve and wit, Good Girls is sure to provoke debate—and maybe some serious thought as well." — Katha Pollitt, Poet and The Nation columnist
"Recounting her years of anorexia with uncommon honesty, Hadley Freeman makes a powerful case for finding the will to live." —Lauren Collins, author of When In French
"For parents of girls with eating disorders, this is vital, revelatory, and deeply moving." —Caitlin Moran, New York Times bestselling author of More Than a Woman
"Hadley Freeman writes unsparingly, harrowingly and profoundly about her life with this disorder, which feels so brutal and unnavigable for sufferers and their families. But she also writes with hope. An intensely vivid memoir that turns out to be an escape story." — Marina Hyde, author of What Just Happened?
"Someone who fought the beast and won uses her own experience and thorough research to explain what anorexia is—and isn’t... Freeman's insights are essential... If you need to understand anorexia, look no further. This is the book for you." — Kirkus Reviews (starred)