________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 12 . . . . February 16, 2001

cover Anorexia Nervosa: When Food is the Enemy (Teen Health Library of Eating Disorder Prevention).

Erica Smith.
New York, NY: Rosen (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 1999.
64 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 1-56838-256-1.

Subject Heading:
Anorexia nervosa-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4 - 10 / Ages 9 - 15.

Review by Joanne Peters.

***1/2 /4


I remember exactly when the anorexia started. I was with the school nurse because I got my period unexpectedly and needed a tampon. I was fourteen but got my first period when I was ten. I was very self-conscious. Here I was in middle school, but I was taller than almost everybody else and had what my mom called a "womanly" body.

As I was about to leave, the nurse asked I had gone to my primary care doctor yet for my yearly checkup. When I said no, she said, "You may want to go, Kim, to keep an eye on yourself. You don't want to gain too much weight." I thought I would die on the spot. I decided right then that I had to go on a diet, no matter what. Little did I know that I wouldn't be able to stop dieting once I started.

It's a documented fact that young women are maturing more rapidly than before. And, increasingly, that development is frequently accompanied by an unhealthy preoccupation with food intake and weight gain. Anorexia Nervosa: When Food is the Enemy is a readily-accessible discussion of the best-known eating disorder. The book's target audience is pre-adolescents and adolescents with reading skills below grade level. It is one of four titles in Hazelden/Rosen's "Teen Health Library of Eating Disorder Prevention." Although most people assume the typical eating disorder patient to be female, this book is unusual in that it also tells the story of young men who become anorexic. The causes, nature and treatment of the condition are all treated in a sympathetic and non-judgmental tone. Sidebars provide "Myths/Facts" about anorexia while a large type-face and clear organization make the book highly readable for younger or struggling adolescent readers. The colour photos of adolescents of various ethnic and racial backgrounds situate the book in the "here and now." Over time, the photos will date, but the book is priced reasonably enough for this to be a very small concern. In addition to an Index, the book provides a list of resources for help and further reading, as well as websites for a number of organizations providing information and support for anorexia sufferers. Rather importantly, the list includes Canadian sources, a consideration for items recommended in CM.

      Anorexia Nervosa: When Food is the Enemy is worth purchasing, both for middle school and high school collections. Be warned, though, older high school students might be put off by the cover photo of a fresh-faced young woman who doesn't look a day over thirteen.

Highly Recommended.

Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364