Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders (Aimee Liu)

If you're reading this post (I don't think many people are), you're probably wondering if I have an eating disorder. And the answer is, I don't. So your next question is, why did I read it?

Because I (like every other American) know at least one person with an eating disorder. And many more people who are either borderline or won't admit they have this problem.

Because this is an excellently written book that takes you inside the minds of people who struggle with eating disorders and helps you to understand where they are coming from.

Because this book sheds light on the full spectrum of each personality trait that is associated with eating disorders. As I read this book and placed myself in each spectrum, I saw how my own personality has led me down similar or contrasting paths to the men and women featured. In other words, I came to a better understanding of myself.

I wish Christians wrote books like this. Aimee Liu has carefully researched, sensitively interviewed, and evocatively described the issues and people connected with the concept of "recovering" from eating disorders. She has interpreted a range of behaviors to come up with a model for what constitutes reasonable human behavior. She has done this without the aid of the Bible or, according to her, any organized religion. Her starting point is all wrong, and yet her conclusions match up with the solution Christianity should be offering. With that caveat, I highly recommend Gaining to everyone.

1 comment:

John said...

I wish Christians wrote books like this.

I often feel that way. Flannery O'Connor observed this about the novel form:

"The sorry religious novel comes about when the writer supposes that because of his belief, he is somehow dispensed from the obligation to penetrate concrete reality. He will think that the eyes of the Church or of the Bible or of his particular theology have already done the seeing for him, and that his business is to rearrange this essential vision into satisfying patterns...by beginning with Christian principles and finding the life that will illustrate them... The result is another addition to that large body of pious trash for which we have so long been famous."

Why is it that Christians are so lazy in their thinking? I am tempted to answer, but I somehow think it's complicated...and may go to the root of many problems with post-modern Christianity.