|About the Book|
The psychology underlying eating disorders is fraught with contradictions and uncertainties- researchers are just beginning to formulate the exact biochemical and emotional combination that impels a woman to binge and purge, or starve herself, orMoreThe psychology underlying eating disorders is fraught with contradictions and uncertainties- researchers are just beginning to formulate the exact biochemical and emotional combination that impels a woman to binge and purge, or starve herself, or chronically overeat. But the familial forces behind such self-destructive behavior are what Margaret Bullitt-Jonas focuses on in her ultimately graceful memoir, Holy Hunger. As in 1998s Wasted, where Marya Hornbachers anorexia, bulimia, and exercise addiction were fueled by her parents implicit orders to excel, Bullitt-Jonas was born into a family of extreme overachievement. Her father (the rapscallion, the charmer, the rogue), a covertly alcoholic English professor at Harvard, and her chronically depressed mother, a trustee at neighboring Radcliffe, maintained a miserable home atmosphere. Her father called her a failure in life even before youve begun to live. Bullitt-Jonas reacted by addictively overeating in her desperation to sate an emotional hunger she couldnt quite identify.Holy Hunger is her way of answering the question: How did my desires go so awry? She started as a child: So who knows what I felt, who knows what I was really longing for.... I had no idea what it was--a compulsion, a desire, an unspoken something or other--that caused my small hand to dart out, reach for an extra slice of bread, then slip it quietly, unseen, into my pocket. Bullitt-Jonass overeating spells through her adolescence and early adulthood are, as expected, devastating. But she manages to save herself through faith in the Higher Power she defers to in her Overeaters Anonymous meetings- her prayers for help- the almost eerie assistance she finds by reading Alice Miller. She transcends her desperation, offering a valuable lesson in the power of spirituality.