The Reading Cure: How Books Restored My Appetite, By Laura Freeman. - Hardcover
At the age of fourteen, Laura Freeman was diagnosed with anorexia. She had seized the one aspect of her life that she seemed able to control, and struck different foods from her diet one by one until she was starving. But even at her lowest point, the one appetite she never lost was her love of reading.
As Laura battled her anorexia, she gradually re-discovered how to enjoy food - and life more broadly - through literature. Plum puddings and pottles of fruit in Dickens gave her courage to try new dishes; the wounded Robert Graves' appreciation of a pair of greengages changed the way she thought about plenty and choice; Virginia Woolf's painterly descriptions of bread, blackberries and biscuits were infinitely tempting. Book by book, meal by meal, Laura developed an appetite and discovered an entire library of reasons to live.
The Reading Cure is a beautiful, inspiring account of hunger and happiness, about addiction, obsession and recovery, and about the way literature and food can restore appetite and renew hope.
A beautifully written hybrid of memoir and literary criticism... This book is about the anguish of anorexia, written by a bookworm unfurling her wings as a writer of considerable power. (Cathy Rentzenbrink TIMES)
A miraculous memoir ... Anyone who has encountered anorexia, either first hand or in someone they love, will recognise this harrowing yet heartening portrait. The Reading Cure is a book for the bookish, for those hungry for self-knowledge, or for those who are just hungry. (Daniel Johnson STANDPOINT)
In its subtle, undogmatic way, The Reading Cure is a tale of joy winning against piety, and the triumph of life over death... both a stimulating argument for the power of fiction as a force for personal change and a wise memoir of anorexia. Moreover, it is never pat, always intelligent, full of enthusiasm, and almost entirely free of self-pity. (Craig Brown MAIL ON SUNDAY)
Enchanting and original... an illuminating and highly engaging way to think about all kinds of literature. (Amanda Craig)
Gentle in its tone and astute in its insights, the book is a treat... [and provides] sound evidence for the ability of literature to affect life. (Ada Coghen LITERARY REVIEW)
The most moving, most evocative book. (Sophia Money-Coutts THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
The Reading Cure by Laura Freeman is devastatingly close to the bone for anyone who has had an eating disorder and knows its power to warp the mind. Gripping, moving, healing, mouthwatering. (Ysenda Maxtone Graham)
You might not expect a book on anorexia to be a joy to read, yet somehow this is. Laura Freeman is unflinchingly honest about the loneliness and misery of suffering from an eating disorder: the desperate calculations over 'an inch of almond milk', the 'shivering hunger'. But her pleasure in the food of literature - from sweets in Harry Potter to roast goose in Charles Dickens - is infectious. The Reading Cure will speak to anyone who has ever felt pain and found solace in a book. There are no easy epiphanies here, but you are cheering Freeman on, page by page, as she slowly recovers her appetite, both for double-cheese toasties and for life. (Bee Wilson)
This book seems to have had the most unanimously glowing reviews of 2018 so far. Quite rightly: Freeman's wonderfully uplifting book is all about how she rediscovered the joy of food, and overcame her anorexia, by escaping into the fictional worlds of Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf. (SUNDAY TIMES STYLE)
The Reading Cure is a painful exploration of anorexia but also a love letter to the healing power of books written with expert care, talent... and hope. (Francesca Brown EMERALD STREET)