Brave Girl Eating: A Family's Struggle with Anorexia

Brave Girl Eating: A Family's Struggle with Anorexia

by Harriet Brown

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Overview

“One of the most up to date, relevant, and honest accounts of one family’s battle with the life threatening challenges of anorexia. Brown has masterfully woven science, history, and heart throughout this compelling and tender story.”
—Lynn S. Grefe, Chief Executive Officer, National Eating Disorders Association

“As a woman who once knew the grip of a life-controlling eating disorder, I held my breath reading Harriet Brown’s story. As a mother of daughters, I wept for her. Then cheered.”
—Joyce Maynard, author of Labor Day

In Brave Girl Eating, the chronicle of a family’s struggle with anorexia nervosa, journalist, professor, and author Harriet Brown recounts in mesmerizing and horrifying detail her daughter Kitty’s journey from near-starvation to renewed health. Brave Girl Eating is an intimate, shocking, compelling, and ultimately uplifting look at the ravages of a mental illness that affects more than 18 million Americans.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062008619
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/24/2010
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 192,609
File size: 430 KB

About the Author

Harriet Brown is a regular contributor to the New York Times and also has written for O, Redbook, Psychology Today, and other publications. Her previous books include Feed Me!, which is also the title of her popular blog that covers food, weight, and body image (harrietbrown.blogspot.com).

What People are Saying About This

Audrey Niffenegger

“Harriet Brown is an intelligent, elegant writer and this book offers both solace and useful information for families struggling with eating disorders.”

Lynn S. Grefe

“One of the most up to date, relevant and honest accounts of one family’s battle with the life threatening challenges of anorexia. Brown has masterfully woven science, history and heart throughout this compelling and tender story. Brave Girl Eating was fortunate to have one brave family.”

Joyce Maynard

“As a woman who once knew the grip of a life-controlling eating disorder, I held my breath reading Harriet Brown’s story. As a mother of daughters, I wept for her. Then cheered.”

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Brave Girl Eating 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a random "pick-me-up" in B&N, and I was simply enticed by the mock cover of Twilight, but I read the back of the book, and from my experience having Bulimia, I immediately wanted to read this book. I initially wanted to read it for "thinspiration" as another story of an anorexia sufferer. But as I got further and further into the book, I started to recover along with Kitty, the author's daughter. And this book made me see my eating disorder through the eyes of a mother, my mother in essence. Come the last page of the epilogue, I was in tears and I felt like I had relieved my past, and that I CAN recover. This book has literally saved my life in many ways and has made recovering from an ED so much real. I recommend this book to any daughter or son with an ED, mother or father of an ED afflicted child, or sibling and family member. In general, this book should be read to help any ED stricken family recover, emotionally and spiritually.
Laura-Michelle More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read for anyone concerned about an eating disorder. It debunks the inaccurate and unsubstantiated theories/guesses (such as parents caused the eating disorder - nope) of previous therapists with research and details the Maudsley Family Based Therapy currently practiced in Europe, Canada, and Australia. Traditional treatment of talking with a therapist is costly but in more than just dollars - your child's life is at stake. Anorexia is a scary disease with a high mortality rate. Early detection and intervention with a therapy that works is essential. I used this book to convince my husband that this was the therapy to use with our daughter. As she lost more and more weight with the dietitian and therapist, he finally agreed. Our daughter is now gaining weight and on her way to recovery. Unfortunately, the number of eating disorders is rising. I am so appreciate of this book for its message especially. I hope in the future the Maudsley method is the first line of defense for families. Currently, most families are like us . . . we only discover it after years of struggle. There are many other books that are helpful such as: Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder by Dr. Lock - if you choose only one book, this is the one, My Kid is Back, Give Food a Chance by Dr. Julie O'Toole, Answers to Anorexia by Dr. James Greenblatt, Off the C.U.F.F. (from Duke University by Nancy Zucker), Feeding Your Anorexic Adolescent, and Eating with Your Anorexic (Laura Collins) that are helpful. If you're reading this review, you are likely in need of much support and information that truly works. Best wishes on this difficult journey!
MomsChoiceAwards More than 1 year ago
Brave Girl Eating is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families
Libby Jennings More than 1 year ago
Most books about eating disorders seem to be triggering, however this book shared more about the recovery process. It was insightful and it gave me hope!
eep More than 1 year ago
as a person who suffers from an ED this book was memorable and helpful. I would recommend families to read it.
karen813 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Brave Girl Eating" is the story of Harriet Brown's struggle to help her daughter beat anorexia. It was a moving portrayal of what this disease does to a family and how it affects each member differently. I thought this book was well written and provided a good bit of factual information about the disease. As I read it I thought of my own daughter who at the age of 7 has a healthy relationship with food but this book illustrated to me how quickly and unexpectedly that can change. I ...more "Brave Girl Eating" is the story of Harriet Brown's struggle to help her daughter beat anorexia. It was a moving portrayal of what this disease does to a family and how it affects each member differently. I thought this book was well written and provided a good bit of factual information about the disease. As I read it I thought of my own daughter who at the age of 7 has a healthy relationship with food but this book illustrated to me how quickly and unexpectedly that can change. I hope that I will never have to use the tips I learned in this book to help my own child, but I am grateful to Harriet Brown for sharing them with me.
FionaPlace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review OneThis is a book written by a mother for mothers. It is the story of a loving, well-educated and unusually sensible mother.Review TwoThis is the story of a mother who finds herself in a situation no mother wants. Brown is the mother of a daughter who won't eat, the mother of a daughter who is at risk of dying from anorexia nervosa. She is also a mother who discovers the medical profession and in particular the psychiatric profession is ill-equipped to step in and provide her and her family with what they so desperately need - effective and compassionate treatment. Review ThreeThis is the story of a mother who on making this 'discovery' is forced to read all the literature available and take 'therapy' into her own hands. In Brown's case this means refusing to hand over her daughter to 'experts', refusing to send her daughter away to a distant inpatient program. And instead wisely electing to embark on a "home-based" re-feeding program. Her decision - informed by the works of Salvador Minuchin, Chris Dare and Ivan Eisler and advocated by groups such as the Maudsley Parents - requires her, requires parent/parents set limits. Set firm and consistent psychological and physical boundaries. It is an approach which understands that no matter how stressful (and as Brown describes so well - it is deeply distressing and stressful for all concerned) it is vital the person with the condition feels safe, loved and knows that no matter how hard the journey is going to be their parents are not going to give up, not going to disappear, but rather insist that they eat. Review FourThis book powerfully illuminates how the current push towards a primarily biological and genetic based understanding of mentall ilness has significantly de-skilled the practice of medicine, the art of medicine. An art well-understood by psychiatric professionals such as Salvador Munichin who pioneered the family-based treatment approach to eating disorders.This art has been lost in part because of a heavy reliance these days on 'recipe-based', on 'cookbook', on 'insurance-like manuals' such as the DSM IV TR. These books with their focus diagnostic tools which resemble a tick-a-box mentality have created a climate in which professionals are discouraged from understanding the context in which a mental illness occurs. The psychological context in which treatment must occur.In other words the current focus on the 'biological' signs and understandings of anorexia nervosa have led to a therapeutic nihilism - a therapeutic desert. With many professionals unaware the illness needs to be treated in a holistic manner - that it is imperative any 'biological' understandings are incorporated within a psychological understanding of how best to treat.Review FourThe majority of interactions between Brown, her daughter Kitty and the medical profession as described by Brown are disappointing. And further illustrate how the push towards biological certainty, to brain scans and blood tests to determine the 'cause' of anorexia nervosa has whittled away the profession's competence and understanding of the psychological aspects of treatment. In Brown's case it is only a psychotherapeutically-trained nurse and a gentle family pediatrician who are capable of providing Brown and her daughter with what they need - support and an understanding of what they are trying to achieve.Review SixThis book takes aim at the "psychodynamic" understandings of anorexia nervosa, particularly the work of Hilde Bruch. Brown understandably and wisely wants to focus on recovery rather than play the blame game. However at times her determination to see and understand anorexia nervosa as primarily a 'biological disorder' as something that can appear out of the blue blinds her to the important contributions authors such as Bruch have made. Bruch was not interested in assigning blame but rather in understanding the psychological context of the illness and how recovery is all about putting in place a psychologi
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and good overview of FBT.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book helped me to confirm what I was already seeing in my daughter’s disorder.
AymTru More than 1 year ago
I learned so much from this book and that was unexpected. The author thoroughly researched her subject. She had a vested interest, yes, her daughter's health. But it was more than that. In her quest to help her daughter, she gives the reader so much more to think on. Things that help explain some moments of my life and I am assuming moments of others' lives. Especially everything about the brain and how it is affected by the bodies own chemistry. Especially in the throes of starvation. But these lessons apply elsewhere and have been personally helpful to myself and events in my own family's history. This book may have a little something for just about anyone and it is a book that I highly recommend. It is well researched and well written. My most heartfelt best wishes to the author's family and to anyone else who has had to live through or is currently living through this experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You don't have to have had a family member with anorexia to find this fascinating reading. In addition to her own family's story, she intersperses theory, science, and history of eating disorders, nutrition, and the way the brain is affected by food, hunger, and starvation and makes it accessible to those of us who are not science-savvy. She also gives us the story of just how difficult thieir experience was and how the disease continues to frighten. Definitely must reading for anyone facing an eating disorder in someone close, intersting for all.
dissocme More than 1 year ago
Judging a book by it's cover: can't wait to read this book as eating apples was all i had allowed myself to eat.
Jordyn16 More than 1 year ago
This book is so amazing. It is great to see the story from the mothers point of view.
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