“Do I want to die from the inside out or the outside in?” - Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls
fifteen-year old Jennifer Johnson reaches out to her family for help. she knows she has an eating disorder but her parents refuse to believe her until a pre-admission screening interview with the Director of the Eating Disorders Unit at Samuel Tuke Center, Syracuse, New York confirms her condition. Jennifer has bulimarexia, a combination of bulimia and anorexia. from November 21, 1988 to January 27, 1989, Jennifer goes through an intensive and oftentimes embarrassing process of individual, family and group therapies, supervised weigh-ins and medication, proscribed classes for wellness, nutrition, body image and to top it all - eating and drinking everything served to her.
forget that it is cliche but the truth is always strangest than the best fiction a creative mind could conjure. Believarexic is a testament to that. it was written as a response to a promise made by the author when she was undergoing treatment - a promise she vowed to fulfill to her teenage self and which she did years later.
Jennifer's story may be shocking, informative, an eye-opener, heart-breaking, etc. to most of us but it is also a manifesto of personal victory. without her conscious decision to seek help and stick to the treatment, Jennifer would have ended up a statistic like so many others we read or hear about.
after reading this autobiographical novel, i agree with author J.J. Johnson that there is more to living other than obsessing over food, one's image and weight. it is my hope that Believarexic reaches a lot of people - young and old. i pray that it inspires as well not only those with eating disorders to take that crucial first step to recovery but also any individual who needs help (or who knows someone who does) and who wants to live a better, healthier and more fulfilling existence.
*Believarexic ships on October 1, 2015 at Amazon. those interested can read J.J. Johnson's actual journal from her hospitalization on her website www.believarexic.com
**received a copy for review via Edelweiss