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Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders    by Aimee E. Liu order for
by Aimee E. Liu
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders is just that, a series of stories about people's lives after being diagnosed with an eating disorder. Aimee Liu intertwines these deeply personal anecdotes with statistics, facts, and theories from the last several decades of research on bulimia and anorexia.

These women and men come from all backgrounds of society. Some have suffered abuse, but some haven't. Some have had controlling parents, but others have not. And how to explain why one child of many in a family is the only one to develop the disorder? On the other hand, often multiple relatives have had eating disorders or other psychological disorders. The author makes the point that while there are common factors such as obsessive compulsions, genetics and personality traits that seem to indicate possible reasons, it's more important to focus on getting treatment for each individual as soon as possible.

Chapters explore the early beginnings of these disorders in people's lives, how they deal with diagnosis and recovery, and how they are living today many years after diagnosis. Aimee Liu relates her own story as well as those of others, and uses researched material on these disorders to explain various facets and recovery processes. This combination of personal and professional information is powerful and effective.

I read this book with interest. While some of it was depressing, it was at the same time hopeful. I especially liked the fact that many sufferers had forgiven themselves and the others around them, which led to a tone of optimism. It was instructive and informative, and I learned much about eating disorders of which I was unaware. I recommend Gaining to anyone who wants to know more about eating disorders, and wants to understand and help those who may be suffering from one.

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