In 1988, when she was fifteen, JJ Johnson was hospitalized for treatment of bulimarexia, a combination of bulimia and anorexia. During her ten-week stay, JJ had to eat everything on her tray, and took classes like "Assertiveness Training," "Depression Management," and "Body Image Workshop." She gained weight, but her path toward health was a constant struggle. In her heart, JJ knew-she knew-that she would be a happy, healthy adult one day.
But how? Instead of a clear path, there was a black abyss. She needed a guide, a mentor, someone who knew her inside and out.
So, one morning, just before weigh-in, JJ closed her eyes and made a deal with herself:
I promise myself that when I'm grown up, and happy, I will come back here, to these months. Healthy me will guide bulimarexic me through this.
This book is that promise, kept.
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Thank you to NetGalley for offering this book for review.
Believarexic takes all those Lifetime movies that were so popular in the 80s and 90s and debunks them. Jennifer has an idea of what The Hospital is like, but her ideas are incredibly off mark. When I was sick, I lived for these novels. I craved the voice of a character, no matter how fictitious, that understood what I was going through. I got nostalgic for those novels again, my heart going out to Jennifer in her struggle to make her mother believe she was sick and needed help. I remembered the same feeling as she was being admitted of "wait never mind I don't want to get better." It was interesting to see the treatment of "bulimarexics" (now EDNOS) before there was an official diagnosis for Jennifer's disorder. I love that this book had all the feelings with none of the numbers. Yes, when she brought up the meal plans the hospital offers there were numbers, but I mean the popular and triggering onslaught of numbers from Before Recovery. The reader is able to see Jennifer's journey without being triggered by weight numbers. This makes it a prime book to read about someone who can relate to you, without the danger of the book being unhealthy. Definitely a book I'd recommend for 15 year old me.
Overall: I'd probably get a physical copy if I had extra money (4.5/5)