Saturday, January 25, 2014

Snapshot Book Review: An Apple a Day

An Apple a Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery from AnorexiaAn Apple a Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery from Anorexia by Emma Woolf
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book, because I think it is brave to tackle something so personal (and yet that affects so many other people) in the public eye. However, frankly, I think she would have done better to compile all of her newspaper column articles between two covers--assuming of course that they weren't written like this: in an overly repetitive, often redundant, severely removed, unemotional, contradictory, and scattered. Oh, and did I mention repetitive. Definitely repetitive. Repetitive to the point of distraction.

Truly, the book repeated so much of itself so often that I began to wonder if Woolf hadn't written the chapters independently and then aggregated them together when someone inevitably approached her about a book deal (because anyone writing a popular newspaper column chronicling a recovery of any kind will, inevitably, get a book deal). However, the repetition was so severe throughout the chapters themselves that I discarded this theory and grudgingly chalked it up to poor writing and worse editing.

Furthermore, Woolf should have determined from the outset what type of book she wanted this to be and stuck with it, because she simply doesn't have the writing skills to integrate scientific research with social commentary, all while writing what attempts to be a personal memoir. Are the facts important? Yes, and educating the public is a noble thing to do. But about three quarters of the way through the book, when she goes off on a tangent about the obesity pandemic, I almost closed the book. I'm ultimately not really sure why I struggled through to the end, seeing as all that was left were a hundred more pages about her 1) (unexplained) desire to have a baby and 2) amazement at her own recovery (which, as any former addict knows, is not Recovery with a capital R, as she would have us think).

I am sad to say that I would not recommend this book. If you're looking for an honest account of an eating disorder, pick up Wasted by Marya Hornbacher.

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