I read your review of this book written by Marya Hornbacher. I have been anorexic for seven years, and am currently in recovery. It is quite obvious to me that whoever wrote the review of this book knows absolutely nothing about eating disorders.

Eating disorders are an addiction, just like alcoholism and drug addiction. They are not something that are aquired by people who are spoiled and selfish. In fact, most of us can and have hidden it from friends and family successfully for several years, so it really doesn't fit that we are doing it to hurt people or to waste our parents' money.

People die from this disease --- it is not to be taken lightly. I hope that in the future you will try to educate yourself about the subjects you are reviewing before you make unrealistic and ignorant comments on a public forum where people who are fighting with this deadly disease every second of every day can feel more ridculed than they already do. Reviews like yours demonstrate the kinds of thoughts that keep these types of diseases alive.


I'm not sure if this is going to the right person, and if it is not, I am sorry. I have never really done anything like this before, but I feel like I need to now.

I want to say that I am throughly disgusted with your review of Hornbacher's Wasted. You picture people with eating disorders as those who are just trying to ruin other's lives. As a recovering anorexic and bulimic, I can tell you that that is probably the one thing that eating disorders are not about.

I have read Hornbacher's book three times, and though sometimes she does admit that she was wallowing a bit too much, she never makes the bold statements that you do in your review. I fear that your review will push those with eating disorders to hate themselves even more, as they will begin to see themselves as horrible people who do nothing except hurt others.

If this is truly what you believe eating disorders are, then please keep this to yourself. This is a view that needs to be eradicated from society, nothing can be solved this way.

Please, try to have a little more compassion the next time a book review is posted. Thank you.


Go to other letters about Wasted
Go to two case studies on Anorexia
Go to another case study on Anorexia

Your remarks about The Vintage cause me to reflect on the people I know who never acquired a taste for hot Saki, though they do enjoy, on occasion, a cool chardonnay. I am also persuaded to wonder about the quality of literary criticism when the reviewer, Jane, who read (or did she? actually?) only the first 69 pages of my long complex novel and then discovered she has the competence to cast the whole book aside as a turkey.

I do not know Jane's literary standards; or competence, if any, but I'll make a stab at something by condensing those first 3 chapters into one and rewriting all of it by the numbers.

I'll begin when Joel, riding the interurban car fixes his narrowing, predacious eyes upon Karyn's physical charms until his mind's eye begins undressing her, and his heated groin urges him to believe she is one who can be had and just might fit him for a good lay, for a lay is a lay no matter how you get it or the consequences, which always makes it worth a try even though sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, that gambler's law of averages he well knows from experience. So he follows her out at her destination, strikes up one of his many suave conversations --- oh how suave the fellow is with women --- and oh such persuasive charm he spreads on too as his banalities call attention to the beauty of her face and hair until she, swallowing his line hook and sinker, gives him that come-on seductive toss of her pretty head,as only she can do, and then guides him up, by way of an outside staircase, to her flat above a busy saloon, and and --- oh oh oh she can barely wait --- and at once spreads apart her legs for him while he, a genuine stud of course, who never delays the fierce intensity of the moment, thrusts his male shaft into her...and again and again and again until... Oh something else I nearly forgot, very important, so sorry, please insert: Passing in front of the saloon, they hear a big brawl erupting inside, they jump back as the doors burst violently open for a drunk who is flung out on his ear followed at once by a flying barstool which Joel sees in the nick of time and by one quick heroic act saves Karen from permanent disfigurement and saves his investment in sweet talk too.

But let us discontinue all such juvenile nonsense and expose those 69 pages to thoughtful rereading to discover all were written with a full awareness of the mood and tempo of a period before World War Two. Those were times of innosence and less hurried than now, of trolleys and interurban cars, and passengers who waited patiently in long lines at a terminal; a time when strangers,among crowds rubbed elbows and conversed without fear of each other's motives; and a time when home dwellers were friendly with neighbors, and where an adult might touch a child out of kindness or to soothe a hurt without fear of charges of molestation.

In addition, if Jane's bored mind had been interested, Jane might have discovered two young people, a man and woman, who, by random luck, meet and together explore and enjoy the many ordinary things of life, sharing fun, mutual interests, families, ideas and dreams. Yet both are unsure of each other and risk possible termination of the relationship; and, for individual reasons, they explore affections and sexuality gingerly, with cautious words and awkward motions.

Also, if Jane had read more diligently, she might have found, scattered here and there, a few clues for the curious mind to conjecture about affairs not yet divulged: remarks about wineman, Uncle Louie, to suggest possible serious conflicts; the seeds of prejudice and bigotry in Mueller's complaints about those kind of people; a wife who berates her meek husband in a crowded public place warns of the perils of love and marriage; the ties of a youth's religion which still cling loosely to the protagonist to make one wonder if such will influence his future behavior.

At the risk of tiring you, I must add one last observation. As the writer, I cannot possibly see how some fast paced opening for The Vintage, can fit in, or blend will, with the remainder of the novel. Particularly out of place is some titillating affair with much sexual posturing and maneuvering, plus some very physical sexual struggles to startle momentarily the reader. Perhaps I have lost touch. But have I? I think that I am of the kind still sensitive enough to believe that a young woman's disappointment coupled with a spot of weed dust on her lovely cheek, can evoke unexpected longings and passions continuing far longer than the immediate hour. Those kinds of sentiments were very essential in the development of this book.

Lloyd Pedersen

Go to our review of Vintage

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