An honest, brutal memoir told through poems and line-art illustrations about surviving trauma and disordered eating and deciding to truly live.
In 1968, the author’s grandfather wanted her teenaged mother to have an abortion. Instead, her mom called off “the contract hit” and married her 20-year-old boyfriend. Dad drank too much, Mom made the best of things, and two younger siblings came along. Laurie, who reads white, loved being a big sister but was the “weird girl” who didn’t fit in. Slowly, she learned from family, friends, and the media that she was “too much / too big / too earnest / too intense-in-your-face,” and she began to dislike herself. Caring for siblings while Mom worked and Dad drank, Laurie tried to be an ordinary 1980s teenager, but she felt like an imposter. Struggling to maintain control amid divorce and loneliness, she convinced herself that losing weight would fix everything. Thus began her journey to anorexia and bulimia. When Laurie left community college to move to New York City, her relationship with food and her body worsened as she also grappled with surviving sexual assault. Eventually, she realized she’d die if she didn’t learn to love herself enough to live. This memoir, enhanced by the author’s sketches, is both original and moving—but not for the faint of heart. In often graphic detail, beautiful turns of phrase quickly become hard-cornered truths, providing a poetic roadmap from self-doubt to self-hate and, finally, self-acceptance.
Relatable, visceral, and memorable. (author’s note, resources) (Verse memoir. 16-adult)