Monday, October 26, 2015

Inner Hunger - Marianne Apostolides

Marianne Apostolides’ book Inner Hunger hits home for me in an unusual way.  Not directly because of the subject matter of bulimia and anorexia. Rather, she grew up in my suburban New York City town and her brother was in my class. So I can't help but see her struggles against the wider canvas of my home town's culture of indifference and a lack compassion.

In Apostolides’s book, the community is in part responsible for her disorders.  She does not write about any organized response to her terrible pain from the school or community.  In the culture of upper middle class achievement of Garden City, painful displays of emotion are best hidden, as they deviate from the prevalent narrative of the town.  For me, this hits hard.

Her book is powerfully written and deeply moving.  The pain and agony of her condition is only offset by the gradual recovery of her emotional life and widening sense of self-understanding -- of the realization that she must confront her pain directly, and not through any buffer.  This is hard life lesson, one many of us never learn. 

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