Marya Hornbacher works as a freeelance editor and writer and maintains her day-to-day battle with her eating disorders. She was educated at the University of Minnesota and the American University, where she won many awards for student journalism. Since she was 18 she has travelled around the US addressing young women (and men) about the causes of eating disorders. After a relapse in 1994, after completing â€˜Wastedâ€™, she resumed her leap-of-faith battle. "Itâ€™s exhausting," as she writes in â€˜Wastedâ€™, "but it is a fight I believe in."
She currently lives in California.
A lovely, lovely book. The story of an American family towards the end of the Vietnam War told by three of its members, the mother, the 6-year old daughter and the very disturbed 12-year old son. Their voices are quite different as indeed are their viewpoints and as a strategy for telling this powerful tale, it works like a dream. Harrowing in places, it is a novel of survival, strong, beautifully drawn and highly convincing. Just read it. The author’s previous work, Wasted, was a shattering memoir of coming through eating disorders. She is very good.Comparison: Alice Sebold, Alice Hoffman, William Kowalski.Similar this month: Ingrid Hill, Hilary Mantel.
A searing, unflinching and deeply moving account of Marya Hornbacher's personal experience of living with bipolar disorder. From the age of six, Marya Hornbacher knew that something was terribly wrong with her, manifesting itself in anorexia and bulimia which she documented in her bestselling memoir `Wasted'. But it was only eighteen years later that she learned the true underlying reason for her distress: bipolar disorder. In this new, equally raw and frank account, Marya Hornbacher tells the story of her ongoing battle with this most pervasive and devastating of mental illnesses; how, as she puts it, `it crept over me like a vine, sending out tentative shoots in my childhood, taking deeper root in my adolescence, growing stronger in my early adulthood, eventually covering my body and face until I was unrecognizable, trapped, immobilized'. She recounts the soaring highs and obliterating lows of her condition; the savage moodswings and impossible strains it placed on her relationships; the physical danger it has occasionally put her in; the endless cycle of illness and recovery. She also tackles the paradoxical aspects of bipolar disorder - how it has been the drive behind some of her most creative work - and the reality of a life lived in limbo, `caught between the world of the mad and the world of the sane'. Yet for all the torment it documents, this is a book about survival, about living day to day with bipolar disorder - the constant round of therapy and medication - and managing it. As well as her own highly personal story, the book includes interviews with family, spouses and friends of sufferers, the people who help their loved ones carry on. Visceral and inspiring, lyrical and sometimes even funny, `Madness' will take its place alongside other classics of the genre such as `An Unquiet Mind' and `Girl, Interrupted'.
When Marya Hornbacher published her acclaimed first book, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, she did not yet have the piece of shattering knowledge that would finally make sense of the chaos of her life: the underlying reason for her distress. At age twenty-four, Hornbacher was diagnosed with type I rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, the most severe form of the condition there is. In her wry and utterly self-revealing style, Hornbacher tells her new story in Madness. Through scenes of astonishing visceral and emotional power, she takes us inside her own desperate attempts to counteract violently careening mood swings by self-starvation, substance abuse, numbing sex, and self-mutilation. Her brave and heart-stopping memoir details her fight up from madness and describes what it is like to live in a difficult, sometimes beautiful life and marriage when the bipolar tendency always beckons. Millions of people in America today are struggling with a variety of disorders that may disguise their bipolar disease. Marya Hornbacher's fiercely self-aware portrait revolutionizes our understanding of this all-too-common, all-too-misunderstood disorder.
A `retired career anorexic' examines herself and her, and our, culture in a masterpiece of confessional literature. At the age of four Marya Hornbacher looked in a mirror and decided she was fat. At nine, she was bulimic. At twelve, she was anorexic. By the time she was eighteen, she'd been hospitalized five times, once in the loony bin. Her doctors and her parents had given up on her; they were watching her die. But Marya decided to live. Four years on, now 22, here is her harrowing tale, powerfully told in a virtuoso mix of memoir, cultural criticism and psychological examination. Here is the amazingly articulate fury of a clever woman made stupid by her culture, who threw away her teenage years in a continuous cycle of bingeing and vomiting or just plain starvation. The first book to explore, from the inside, the intimate relationship between eating disorders and 1990s culture's historically unprecedented obsession with body, diet and gender; not a testimony to a miracle cure, but the story of one woman's travels to the darker side of reality, and her decision to find her way back, on her own terms. `Hornbacher is articulate, clever, and has all the persuasive zeal of a convert, furious at the pressures that made her what she was. Paradoxically, her painful journey is also gripping and...dare one say it....entertaining in a way that no fiction could ever be. A compulsive read.' Publishing News; `A gritty unflinching look at eating disorders written from the raw disintegrated centre of young pain with stark candour and power.' New York Times * The slimming industry is worth GBP1billion in GB alone * The UK has 3.5 million anorexics and bulimics