Before I Disappearby Barb Herding
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Lauren Stafford is a 16-year-old girl who's struggling to find her place in the world, but lately, life has been handing her nothing but rejections, false accusations, and broken promises. Her self-esteem is shattered. Every time she looks at her reflection, she becomes more disgusted by what she sees. Self hatred drives her deeper and deeper into an eating disorder which causes her to collapse on the gym floor. They rush her to the hospital where she meets Jenny Addison, a 17-year-old girl who's become a prisoner of a very dark secret. Lauren's desperate to help Jenny, but the horrible things that happened to her are too frightening for her to talk about. Eventually, Jenny shows Lauren one of the sketches she's drawn. It's so personal, she's kept it hidden in a private compartment she's made in the back of her sketchbook. It's a haunting portrait Jenny's drawn of herself as a little girl. The message Jenny’s drawn inside this sketch escalates, bringing the story to a powerful climax that helps Lauren find the true meaning of life.
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There are books that stay with you for days, weeks, months, or even years after you have finished reading them. Before I Disappear by Barb Herding is just such a story. It is the powerful story of Lauren Stafford, her emotional journey, and her eventual restoration of self-worth. After Lauren and her boyfriend break up, she wonders what she did wrong and how she can get him back. Lauren begins going to extreme lengths to avoid eating and constantly exercise, putting her body through torture that it is not meant to withstand. When her body has finally had enough, Lauren is rushed to the hospital. In the hospital, she meets a group of teenagers who are also suffering from eating disorders. Each story is different. Some of them are suffering a psychological and physical response to emotional trauma, while others are reacting to the pressures that are put on ambitious teenagers today. This story will appeal to teenagers on a number of levels. The first, and most obvious, is that teenagers who have suffered from an eating disorder or who have had a friend who have suffered from an eating disorder can relate to the stories of the teenagers in the hospital, whose diseases are depicted with startling accuracy. Anyone who has had exposure to a childhood trauma will be touched by Jenny's story. Its universal appeal to teenagers ultimately lies in the fact that it shows the inordinate amount of pressure placed on modern teenagers through the stories of teens who internalize the pressures of modeling, dancing, and amateur wrestling. It is written in an accessible manner that all different types of readers can enjoy. Herding's emotional exploration of eating disorders is one that its readers are certain to carry with them, talk about with others, and reread. Before I Disappear is one story that every teenager should read.
For anyone who has ever had a friend or family member who has suffered from an eating disorder, Before I Disappear by author Barb Herding is an absolute must-read. It is told in a manner that will appeal to all types of readers with all different levels of experience with eating disorders, accessible to both teenagers and adults. Herding discusses the ugly, dangerous, and guarded nature of anorexia and bulimia through the stories of her main character, Lauren, and the teenagers that she meets while she is being treated for her disease. These stories offer families a great way to talk about a difficult to broach topic that must be addressed, whether it is suspected that someone might be suffering from an eating disorder or simply to raise awareness and consciousness and warn against the dangerous path that eating disorders take its sufferers on. Like so many other teenagers, Lauren has had her self-worth destroyed. After she is dumped by her boyfriend, Lauren believes that it is her fault and embarks on a path of malnutrition and over-exercise that is fraught with peril. It takes the suffering of someone else to help Lauren overcome her shattered self-image and find meaning and purpose. There are stories of both hope and tragedy interwoven into Before I Disappear. Many of them are emotional, especially for anyone who sees themselves or a loved one in Herding’s characters. On her motivation for writing Before I Disappear, the author stated that she hopes that teenagers will find their own self-worth. Herding has done the community of friends and family members who have watched a loved one suffer through the painful and heartbreaking effects of eating disorders a great service. Before I Disappear is poised to gain a great deal of attention for the often forgotten issue and engage people in a meaningful dialogue about anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
Too often, people treat people who suffer from anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa as though it is not a real disease or it is something that they have intentionally brought upon themselves and that they can turn their thoughts and behaviors off at any time. This is simply not the case. In her novel, Before I Disappear, Barb Herding uses the story of Lauren Stafford to offer some insight into the world of eating disorders, which can often be difficult for anyone who has never been affected by one to understand. It is an incredibly real depiction of eating disorders that gives those who do not understand anorexia and bulimia some insight that will undoubtedly change their perspective on anorexia and bulimia. To give this insight, Herding uses different characters to show readers a different glimpse into eating disorders. After Lauren’s disease causes her to collapse and be rushed to the hospital, Lauren, who previously felt isolated by her disease, meets some other people her age who are also suffering from eating disorders. The patients that Lauren meets each have a different story to tell and a different side of eating disorders to share with Herding’s readers. Although each of these characters demonstrates the serious nature of eating disorders, it is Jenny’s story that is particularly emotional. It is her story that illuminates the very real psychological roots of eating disorders and the very real fallout from disorders that go unchecked. Herding’s novel is both engaging and educational. Herding has mastered the perfect and precipitous balance between plot and treatment of issues. This balance will gain her fans on all sides of eating disorders, whether readers have had past exposure to them or not and, as a result, will do a great deal to raise awareness about the issue.
Barb Herding’s Before I Disappear is the heartrending tale of a young girl named Lauren who is suffering from anorexia after a breakup with her boyfriend completely destroys all of her self-esteem. Lauren’s tale is one that many teenagers and their parents can relate to, depicted with realism and detail. After Lauren becomes sick, she is hospitalized. It is there that she meets Vivian, Paul, Bridget, and Jenny, four teens who are struggling with similar issues. Some of Herding’s characters fit the “profile” of eating disorder sufferers; whereas, others, like Paul, do not. Vivian is a model who never made it to her first real shoot; Bridget collapsed during her solo in The Nutcracker; Paul is an amateur wrestler who should be fighting in his first championship match; and Jenny is very secretive about the roots of her eating disorder and her nearly fatal episode, rooted somewhere in her childhood. Barb Herding puts names and faces to eating disorders, as well as illuminating the dangerous and secretive nature of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. The stories of each of these five teenagers offer a different perspective on eating disorders and more insight into the nature of these diseases. Through their stories, Herding is able to give a great deal of insight into diseases that are often misunderstood or treated as less than real or less than important, showing that they are absolutely real diseases and are absolutely important to talk about and deal with. Before I Disappear illustrates that eating disorders can touch anyone, for a variety of reasons, and has the potential to destroy lives and families if they are not addressed. This absolutely unforgettable story will stay with its readers long after they have turned the last page and will stay with society as a powerful reminder about how devastating eating disorders can really be.
Eating disorders are a serious topic in today’s society. In fact, The Palo Alto Medical Foundation estimates that one percent of adolescent girls develop anorexia nervosa and an additional two to three percent of adolescent girls develop bulimia nervosa. One out of every ten anorexia cases results in cardiac arrest, starvation, suicide, or other fatal complication. What makes the issue even more serious is that people who are suffering from anorexia and bulimia go to great lengths to hide their condition. In Before I Disappear, author Barb Herding tackles this emotional and serious issue through fiction, casting light on a disease that often exists in the shadows of secrecy. Her main character, Lauren Stafford, is a 16 year old girl with a big secret: she has developed an eating disorder as a result of her shattered self-esteem. To ward off any suspicion about her strange dietary and exercise habits, Lauren flushes her food down the toilet and even tells her parents that she is training to run a 5-K. Laruen’s condition causes her to eventually collapse and she is put in the hospital, where she hears the stories of others who are suffering from eating disorders. Lauren’s story is one that paints an accurate picture of the nature of eating disorders, hitting close to home for many families. Herding’s compelling exploration of eating disorder will undoubtedly tug at the heartstrings of many readers as they get wrapped up in the life stories of Lauren and the patients who are suffering from eating disorders. Barb Herding’s novel raises awareness for a topic that has been overshadowed by bullying and other social issues in recent years. Before I Disappear is a story that should be read by anyone who is a teenager, has a teenage child, or has someone in their life who has had an eating disorder.
When one door closes another one opens is a very true statement for this book but it leaves you realizing what is important in life. The people who past throughout are lives really do mold who we are and who we become. Must Read!!!!!!!!