I am gaining ground!! Excited to share my my 11th book read for 2020. I was sent Empty: A Memoir by Susan Burton by the publisher and from the moment I opened the delivery, I was so excited to jump in. The cover of this book is very engaging and I knew it would be a book I would end up loving. Sure enough, I did love it! Empty: A Memoir by Susan Burton is not the usual book I read but it was a nice little change up.
Book 11 Read in 2020
Empty: A Memoir by Susan Burton
Growing up, Susan Burton had never heard of binge-eating. She just knew she felt her best when she was empty, “like a straw”, as she says “something you could blow through.” For almost thirty years, Susan Burton has hidden her obsession with food and the secret life of compulsive eating and starving that dominated her adolescence. This is the relentlessly honest, fiercely intelligent story of living with both anorexia and binge-eating disorder, moving past her shame, and learning to tell her secret.
When Burton was thirteen, her stable life in suburban Michigan was turned upside down by her parents’ abrupt divorce, and she moved to Colorado with her mother and sister. She seized on this move west as an adventure and an opportunity to reinvent herself from middle-school nerd to popular teenage girl. But she hadn’t escaped unscathed, and in the fallout from her parents’ breakup, an inherited fixation on thinness went from “peculiarity to pathology.” She entered into a painful cycle of anorexia and binge eating that formed a subterranean layer to her sunny life. She went from success to success–she went to Yale, scored a dream job at a magazine right out of college, and married her college boyfriend. But in college the compulsive eating got worse–she’d binge, swear it would be the last time, and then, hours later, do it again–and after she graduated she descended into anorexia, her attempt to “quit food.”
Binge eating is more prevalent than anorexia or bulimia, but there is less research and little storytelling to help us understand it. In tart, soulful prose Susan Burton strikes a blow for the importance of this kind of story; brings to life an indelible cast of characters; and tells an exhilarating story of longing, compulsion and hard-earned self-revelation.
My Review of Empty
While this was a Memoir I totally felt like it was a story too, it wasn’t too documentary like and I was completely attached to Susan as she shared her story. As a Colorado native I was also very interested in how a lot of this book played out here in Colorado. It is fun to relate to an author like that.
Susan opened up to her readers and I am sure I am not the only one that sat here nodding her head thinking, “yup, I did that too” or “that was so me!”. The world of eating disorders and failed body image is in so many of us – even as adults. And yet, this memoir helped me pick out areas of triggers for myself and really had me evaluating how I have used and abused food of the years.
Now, because issues like anorexia, bulemia, binge eating, struggles with body image are areas of HUGE struggle I did find that some of the book was very difficult to read. I could see how this book could be very triggering to some. As a mother of a daughter, I found myself checking how my actions could be affecting my daughter as well. Over all, this book was written well, it was raw and it was thought provoking. As I said, this is not my normal type of book to read but it was one I am thankful that joined my book list.
Book 11 was different, thought provoking and full of raw emotions. I am proud that I have started making big progress in my reading goal for 2020 and I know the next few books I have on my list will be ones that you will all love to learn about as well! I am always looking for new books to add to my reading list so please share some books you have really enjoyed recently. Make sure you check out my 2020 Reading List and Goal too. Maybe you can add some of my books to your list this year!
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