Bookcase Project: Book Eight – Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives Edited by Aimee Liu

Book Eight, Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives: Guidance and Reflections on Recovery from Eating Disorders

Edited by Aimee Liu, Shambhala Publications, 2011

One of the good things that comes with being an author of books about eating disorders is that people get to know you on the circuit and they send you books. Restoring is constructed of many, many letters from sufferers of eating disorders, each telling their own, unique story. Some contributors appear throughout the book, telling their experiences about the different stages of recovery, progressing towards the end of the book and wellness. I have read countless books about eating disorders, but none have managed to touch me in the way that this one has. I believe it took several years to get all the research and accounts together and boy, it shows. It is remarkably in depth and so beautifully put together.

Before my last admission, I was aware that I was dying. I wasn’t able to tolerate the low weights as easily as when I was younger. My heart muscles were deteriorating as they were metabolized for energy.

The chapters lead naturally, from the moment of realisation where the person realises they want to recover, to when they have a body of their own again. The ages range dramatically and every now and then, the voice of a male sufferer comes out. Leading professionals address the topics that are raised within the letters, and offer their valued opinions and suggestions as to how the sufferer can help themselves and how family and friends can help too. It beautifully combines the professional views of experts with the voices of real people. There are some truly beautiful paragraphs ‘My belly is growing. I just sit back and watch it happen. In the past, this would have been upsetting, but now it’s fascinating. There’s really a baby in there? And heartbreaking ones. I remember my mother teaching me to purge my food when I was in first grade. I was put in mandatory counselling then, but I didn’t understand anything was wrong with me. My life revolved around food and weight, idolizing my mother and all she did. As a recovered anorexic, I would recommend this book to anyone touched by eating disorders. It’s also excellent if you just wish to increase your knowledge about the subject. Aimee Liu, I take my hat off to you.