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"Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia"

June 01, 1998|ROCHELLE O'GORMAN FLYNN

By Marya Hornbacher

Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio

Abridged nonfiction

Four cassettes

Length: Six hours

$23

Read by the author

Available in bookstores or call (800) 333-9185

Marya Hornbacher is a brilliant but troubled young woman whose memoir should be required listening for all women and teenage girls.

Bright, talented and self-loathing, she all but destroyed her body through bingeing, purging and starving. Though anorexia and bulimia did not exact a fatal toll, she admits readily she is not cured and will never really be "normal." Forthright in both writing and reading style, Hornbacher is in-your-face and shocking. A gifted writer whose voice is clearly defined, she is occasionally glib, but because of her youth (early 20s), we can forgive her. Hornbacher has an innate sense of timing, although she comes off as the tiniest bit shrill in the first cassette.

"Grandiose" is an adjective she uses to describe herself at one point, and it applies, though not aggressively so, to her narrative style.

Technically, Hornbacher is quite good, and her over-the-top tendencies diminish as she relaxes into her narrative. The abridgment is also better than average--you pick up a real sense of her personality along with the horrors of a full-blown eating disorder. This is so painfully revealing in spots that it becomes difficult to imagine hearing the book in its entirely.

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