Wasted is the story of a young woman, now in her early twenties, that recounts her fourteen years spent "in the hell of eating disorders," having been bulimic by the age of nine, anorexic at fifteen. The book is also a chronicle of her six hospitalizations, one institutionalization, relentless therapy, the back and forth between being "well" then "sick" then "well" then "sicker." The author dismisses most common notions of persons with eating disorders, instead revealing a complex set of causes, some familial, some cultural, some wedded to her own personality.


This is a powerful story, well-written, boldly told, without a trace of self-pity. It is hard to believe the author wrote it when she was only 23--what she'd lived through during those 14 years seemed to span a lifetime. It is, at times, hard to read--the tempo of her writing pulls readers into her obsession, and it is a difficult, pain-filled world to enter.

In addition, what makes Horbacher's account so important (especially for students in health care professions) is that it contains no neat packaging, do-this-then-that therapies, tidy endings. Her eating disorder couldn't be directly traced to her chaotic family life and the fact that she was a perfectionist; likewise, it was far more complicated than the fact that she lived in a culture obsessed with thinness, and it was not simply about food. It was all of these, and more. It is best read in its entirety, but if necessary there are logical sections to excerpt.



Place Published

New York



Page Count