Based on her childhood diaries, Lori Gottlieb’s book chronicles her preteen battle with anorexia nervosa. A precocious chess-loving student with a straight A average, young Lori aspires to supermodel thinness in an attempt to reconcile society’s conflicting messages and to gain her parents’ attention.Amazon.com Review
In the image-conscious world of 1970s Beverly Hills, 11-year-old Loriknows she's different. Instead of trading clothes and dreaming of teenidols like most of her pre-adolescent friends, Lori prefers reading books,writing in her journal and making up her own creative homework assignments.Chronically disapproving of her parents' shallow lifestyle, she challengestheir authority and chafes under their constant demands to curb her frankopinions and act more "ladylike." Feeling as though she has lost controlover her rapidly changing world, Lori focuses all her concentration on onesubject: dieting. Her life narrows to a single goal--to be "...the thinnesteleven year old on the entire planet." But once she achieves her "stickfigure," Lori really sees herself for the first time in a restaurantbathroom mirror and decides then and there to bring herself back from thebrink of starvation.
Stick Figure is a surprisingly upbeat memoir, mainly due to Gottlieb'sdescriptions of her upper-crust parents: "Mom and I usually don't like thesame movies. For example, she didn't like my favorite movie, Star Wars,probably because no one goes shopping...." But despite the sly humor, Loricomes to a sobering conclusion that is, sadly, still relevant today: "...youcan be too thin and not even know it, because you spend so much timelistening to everyone talk about how ladies are supposed to diet, and howsomething's wrong with you if you aren't worried about being thin, too."Culled from Gottlieb's pre-teen diaries, Stick Figure is a wry andengaging observation of an eating disorder and the society that contributedto it. --Jennifer Hubert ... Read more
Customer Reviews (143)
A frank glimpse into the mind of a precocious 11-year-old girl...
Even at age 11, Lori Gottlieb knows she's different. None of her schoolwork challenges her, prompting her to come up with creative interpretations of her assignments that always seems to land her into trouble. She could really care less about make-up, shopping and boys, unlike her friends and much to her image-conscious mother's dismay. Sometimes it seems like no one truly understands her, and even her so-called "friends" are against her. Even Lori's 13-year-old brother David seems to have drifted away, even though they used to be close.
Suddenly, Lori seems to become aware of just how much emphasis is put upon having the perfect body within her Beverly Hills life. Her friend's mother is constantly looking for new diets, and forces her young daughter to live them as well. Her mother refuses to eat normally during the day, and is caught at night by Lori, stuffing pastry into her mouth over the sink. Perhaps if Lori, too, achieved the perfect body, she'd finally be the person she needs to be, popular, beloved and most importantly, in control of the world around her.
Lori begins to diet and exercise, quickly becoming obsessed with calories and weight loss. She begins to read her own books on the subject; and despite her precociousness, often misinterprets what she reads, causing her already-thin and still-growing adolescent body to lose drastic amounts of weight in record time. Concerned, the Gottliebs send Lori to a doctor and to a therapist, but she still refuses to stop. Finally, it all comes down to either resuming normal behavior or being admitted to a hospital. But what if Lori isn't able to stop at this point?
Although this book is based on Gottlieb's diary from her eleventh year, it's pretty clear that it was heavily edited and rewritten by the adult, a professional writer. Still, much of the preteen's voice shines through, alternating between naivete and precociousness, in regards to everything from nutrition to sex to friendship and life in general. The adolescent Lori isn't much different from most of us at a similar age, and it's painful to read her suffering. Equally painful is seeing how clueless the medical profession still was about anorexia and eating disorders as recently as the late '70s; even nurses and doctors often seem clueless about Lori's problems in this novel.
Never having experienced an eating disorder myself, I can't vouch for how accurate the details of that angle are here. Nonetheless, this book is a quick, gripping read, an honest look at an adolescent girl's struggles as she tries to take her place among the less-than-perfect adults in her world.
A Great Book
Lori Gottlieb has a real talent for writing the truth and making you laugh about it. I liked this book enough that I reread it, which is not something I tend to do. This book isn't a sob story, but the story of an eleven-year-old that is trying to find self worth in a world of nose jobs, crash diets and expensive designer outfits. The way Gottlieb portrays her family as well as herself is comical, yet she still somehow manages to get you to think about the tougher issues. I would highly recommend this book.
Would not read this twice...
Honestly, I'm still struggling with my eating disorder I've had for 6 years, and for some reason I'm falling into a rough patch.So I picked this book up looking for some triggering material.I didn't really get anything out of it.Not even psychological explanations that normally come with a book on eating disorders.The book is cute, to say the most, and I would recommend it for seriously bored human beings.I wouldn't call it triggering really, so I might let my niece read it one day when she's old enough to understand the concept of an eating disorder, and when I know that she over the age of aquiring one.So I suppose this book is for the mature audience who has been through that part of her life.Very easy reading also.
I couldn't help but be a bit offended by this book.I mean, I read the whole thing and it wasn't terrible, but it didn't portray eating disorders in a way that I would want individuals who have not suffered from the disorder themselves to see."Wasted" by Marya Hornbacher is much more realistic and a better use of one's reading time.
Written by an adult, from a childs point of view
I'm first of all very upset at some of these reviews.When people say "an adult trying to sound like an elevn year old." and "this isnt by an eleven year old"
The women who wrote it IS an adult, relating to her journals FROM the age of eleven.
With that being said, I very much enjoy this book.Lori is a very humerous and clever eleven year old dealing with the struggles of becoming a women and poor self imagine.The emotional neglect from her parents is very present and you start feeling for her.
I think this book wa sa good idea for the author.Because it takes her back to her childhood and painful events that took place.She trys to make peopel understand what a real person suffering from anorexia is like.
I own this book, and it's one of my favorite books about anoreixa.It's not a self help book, nor an educational one, a small bit of autobiograpghy is in play
and thats it, which I would ceratinly say go ahead and read it, besides it's not very long
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