At the age of four Marya Hornbacher looked in a mirror and decided she was fat. At nine, she was bulimic. At 12, she was anorexic. By the time she was 18, she’d been hospitalized five times, once in a mental asylum. Her doctors and her parents had given up on her; they were watching her die. But Marya decided to live. Four years on, now 22, here is her tale, powerfully told in a mix of memoir, cultural criticism and psychological examination. Here is the fury of a clever woman made stupid by her culture, who threw away her teenage years in a continuous cycle of bingeing and vomiting or just plain starvation.
“I fell for the great American dream, female version, hook, line, and sinker,” Marya Hornbacher writes. “I, as many young women do, honest-to-God believed that once I Just Lost a Few Pounds, suddenly I would be a New You, I would have Ken-doll men chasing my thin legs down with bouquets of flowers on the street, I would become rich and famous and glamorous and lose my freckles and become blond and five foot ten.” Hornbacher describes in shocking detail her lifelong quest to starve herself to death, to force her short, athletic body to fade away. She remembers telling a friend, at age 4, that she was on a diet. Her bizarre tale includes not only the usual puking and starving, but also being confined to mental hospitals and growing fur (a phenomenon called lanugo, which nature imposes to keep a body from freezing to death during periods of famine).
From the Cover
Why would a talented young girl go through the looking glass and step into a netherworld where up is down and food is greed, where death is honor and flesh is weak? Why enter into a love affair with hunger, drugs, sex and death? Marya Hornbacher sustains both anorexia and bulimia through five lenghty hospitalizations, endless therapy, and the loss of family, friends, jobs, and ultimately, any sense of what it means to be “normal.” By the time she is in college, Hornbacher is in the grip of a bout with anorexia so horrifying that it will forever put to rest the romance of wasting away. In this vivid, emotionally wrenching memoir, she re-creates the experience and illuminates the tangle of personal, family, and cultural causes underlying eating disorders. Wasted is the story of one woman’s travels to the darker side of reality, and her decision to find her way back — on her own terms.
About the Author
- Marya Hornbacher An Unofficial Website
- Author info
- Author page at BoldType
- A short article from People magazine
- Blame Culture – review of Wasted in Spike Magazine
- A gripping tale of survival – review of Wasted in Jam!
- Wasted – Girl Zone
Also by Marya Hornbacher
- An introduction – an article from the Pale Reflections site.
- Eat or Die – from USA Weekend Magazine
- The Centre of Winter – out in November, 2002.