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Summary

Millions of families are affected by eating disorders, which usually strike young women between the ages of fourteen and twenty. But current medical practice ties these families' hands when it comes to helping their children recover. Conventional medical wisdom dictates separating the patient from the family and insists that 'it's not about the food', even as a family watches a child waste away before their eyes. In Brave Girl Eating Harriet Brown describes how her family, with the support of an open-minded pediatrician and a therapist, helped her daughter recover from anorexia using a family-based treatment developed at the Maudsley Hospital in London. Chronicling her daughter Kitty's illness from the earliest warning signs, through its terrifying progression, and on toward recovery, Brown takes us on one family's journey into the world of anorexia nervosa, where starvation threatened her daughter's body and mind. Brave Girl Eating is essential listening for families and professionals alike, a guiding light for anyone who's coping with this devastating disease.

©2010 Harriet Brown (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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review

Overall I am glad I read this book and particularly enjoyed the sections of the book where the author shared researched data and projects as well as historical information. The downside to this book is that through no fault of her own the author’s voice sounds young almost like the teenage daughter herself, so it was hard to imagine it was the mother you were listening too. Also I felt whilst she tried to uncover the effect that anorexia had on the family by labelling it the ‘demon’ I felt she detached herself and her daughter from the emotional reality and impact that the disorder had on the family. However, it’s worth a read if only for the interesting research she shares.

1 person found this helpful

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inspirational

makes me feel hope for our daughter. good listening to someone else battle through and make a full recovery

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On the fence

I really struggled to get through this book to be honest - not because the story wasn’t engaging for the most part, but more because of the narration! I would like to read the book to see if I would be more captivated than I was with the audio! I found the narrators tone to be pretty monotone a lot of the time and didn’t feel like she injected the right level of emotion at the right times! Certain really hard messages sounded like they were said light-heartedly. I also feel that she held back on what SHE was feeling which at times made me think ‘this woman must be super-human to be so patient’...but I don’t think that’s true because at times small pieces of her true feelings did come through! Personally I would have loved less stats and research facts, and more real, raw emotion!

Having also experienced anorexia first hand; I did find myself balking at some of the methods she described - a lot of it didn’t sit well with me BUT it was really, really interesting to read about a fresh new way outside of the traditional treatment! So whilst some of it I didn’t necessarily like - I’m really glad that she’s put it out there and given people another option because different approaches work for different people.

Overall, I think I pretty good story with some nuggets of wisdom. A book a probably would neither recommend nor dissuade someone from as it all depends on what people are looking for. Some may find it a fantastic read!

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  • Michael
  • 22-02-20

Very good but...

I wish I could find within myself more sympathy but I find it impossible. I’m overwhelmed by the simple fact the world does not owe you constant affirmation or adulation. People can be mean, suck it up. Someone that you can’t even remember called you “fat” so now you must starve and brag about fooling everyone as to your state. Most people don’t have that level of concern from their loved ones and are expected to learn how to care for themselves. Perhaps the devastation of anorexia could be better managed by simply forcing the sufferers to face it without the reward of attention before more drastic measures are utilized

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  • JAson DeMink
  • 11-06-17

Wept thru the entire book, as a husband of 20 yrs

anorexic\bulimic wife, It took me months to finish this book, forcing me to recall, reconcile and find an empathy that was never before available to me. I wish i had read it 20 years ago when the first sign of the demon appeared. There is no guide for the spouse of someone allficted with an eating disorder, but this is the next best thing. Every chapter both clearly informing but painfully re-living the horrors of the rollercoaster. Every husband and parent needs this information. The signs, the treatments, the pathological condidions that destroy rational thought, the hiding, lying, and betrayls of trust will become recognizable and more than anything give you hope that there is chance AND a method for recovery.

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  • Robert Benz
  • 02-07-16

Concerned Dad

As a father to a newly diagnosed daughter, I found this book to be very helpful in knowing another family's experience in dealing with this medical condition. The author provided a great balance of her experience in caring for her daughter with medical and historic information about eating disorders.

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  • Princess Khay
  • 04-06-15

Awesome, encouraging and informative!

Im a 23 year old model and I guess I didn't really realize I had an eating disorder until about a month ago. I've probably had it since I was 15, but I've managed to yoyo my weight to appear normal at time, but I was afraid of growing up and not being the same me that I've always been and add in other stressful factors of life and that equals to a full blown eating disorder. I'm 89.4 lbs right now and my lowest was probably 75lbs. My highest and happiest weight was in high school with my amazing boyfriend who we have since split and I was 5'6 127 pounds and hating every minute if it. I now know that I was completely physically healthy and mentally unhealthy. Your book is so familiar to me and every word is true about the mood swings and crying and everything. I can cry over a piece of sushi and not know why. My eating behaviors are bizarre to me, but now I know that I've created this demon and it's gonna be a hard kill to get rid of it, but I'm determined and I want to live. I'm afraid to die, but I think about it all the time and I just want to know that you are saving lives and you probably saved mines. I have one older sister so in the Kitty, but my sister is no Emma. My mom is definitely a Harriet and my dad's totally a Jamie! I love you and I'm gonna listen to this book when I'm in the dark corner and the demon is telling me food is the enemy.

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  • Mom/RN
  • 05-03-15

informative

as a nursing student I find the patient perspective invaluable and appreciate anyone willing to share their experience. an interesting, informative thought provoking listen!

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  • Brian Losabia
  • 22-07-14

Angry Author Narrating

Brave Girl Eating is a mother's memoir describing the time when anorexia emerged in her 14 year old daughter's life. As a person without anorexia, I was mainly interested in this book to try to learn more about the disease, its causes, and cures. I had no particularly great interest in anorexia specifically, and took a bit of a chance on this book after its being recommended to me by Audible. My main criticism of this book is probably the venomous and angry voice of the author as she recounted her interactions with various health care professionals, insurance people, and even her family members. I can imagine that this book might be useful to other families touched by eating disorders, either as a comforting note of solidarity, or as a field journal from one particular implementation of family based treatment for anorexia. For me, the author's own ambivalence about food, and aforementioned acerbic tone, detracted from the book's attempts to shed light on various theories on the origins of eating disorders, and different treatment options. Also, bear in mind that the author is a not a medical professional by trade, and what she is doing is passing along her own ruminations on different studies, medical journal entries, and articles. I do believe that the author was trying to get helpful information out to the families of eating disorder sufferers, and yet I also think that she used this book to do a goodly amount of spleen venting.

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  • WENDY
  • 29-05-21

A must read!

I read this book as part of a college psychology class. The book helped me understand anorexia better but also gave an intimate look into what happens to the families affected by this disease and the tremendous struggle of those who have anorexia. It also speaks to the love of families and places importance on treatment that empowers families to help those they love so much. Even if you are not interested in anorexia this is a powerful and deeply moving memoir...beautifully and powerfully written with amazing truth and vulnerability.

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  • LA1967
  • 09-03-21

Amazing! H. Brown's story resonates with our own

Truly an excellent portrayal of AN. Our daughter was diagnosed one month ago and this book spoke to me deeply. She shares a lot of valuable data, especially regarding the Maudsley approach, highlighting certain studies, reviewing Ancel Keys' experiment, and emphasizing the importance of aiming toward a goal weight based on one's own growth chart data and not a useless BMI. The descriptions of Kitty, especially her "not-Kitty" are absolutely spot on. It's what we see in our daughter. She is not herself, takes on a different persona, filled with rage, and even her tone of speech is altered. It is very sad. Harriet Brown's book is a vital read for those struggling with a family member with AN. Thank you, Harriet Brown, for sharing your story and your wisdom. I wish the book had not ended - I wanted - actually, needed to hear more advice. I know I have a long road ahead but knowing I'm not alone provides some strength and encouragement. Ignore an overly analytic, negative review of this book, rating it as two stars and criticizing her labeling the AN as "anti-Kitty". The review is short-sighted and irritating to those who are struggling with a loved one - the reviewer is clearly devoid of any knowledge of an eating disorder. For those fortunate to not have a family member with AN, read this book and be thankful but from our perspective, it is a very accurate account. You can't argue with an eating disorder. The cognitive distortions skew any ability to see reality. It may be the AN's reality - and trapped they are in this distorted thinking - but the approach of a caregiver labeling this as something "different" (not-Kitty) is important and a healthy approach in coping and maintaining a reminder of who your child really is and what your anger should be directed at.

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  • Victorine
  • 14-05-20

This story is like a train wreck one cannot stop reading BUT..

The story is just not believable as written. The author of this book is making claims about her daughter having anorexia nervosa that do not pass the smell test. What is truly frightening is her constant reference to the daughter’s “demon.” A word not to be used lightly.

Even though the story is so unbelievable one reads on because it is hard to believe a Mother would fabricate such a story yet, as it unfolds her agenda becomes apparent. She goes after everyone - medical doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, insurance companies, Saints in the Catholic Church(weird) coaches, neighbors and basically anyone who disagrees with what she believes should be the proper treatment.

If her daughter was truly as sick as she claims with anorexia, the outcomes just don’t fit.

I feel badly for the family as I believe this was a hot topic and a way for her to publish a book about a serious issue, and a way to put forth her point of view for her career.

I would not recommend this book to anyone.

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  • Mark Beech
  • 10-12-19

My Daughter

This story is our truth with our daughter. We are all in a better place now, but I identify with many many things in this book. It does resonate honestly, how this experience is for all our family.