A Diary of My Former Self
By Lori Gottlieb
(Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781439148907, 224pp.)
Publication Date: November 17, 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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"I wish to be the thinnest girl at school, or maybe even the thinnest eleven-year-old on the entire planet," confides Lori Gottlieb to her diary. "I mean, what are girls supposed to wish for, other than being thin?"
For a girl growing up in Beverly Hills in 1978, the motto "You can never be too rich or too thin" is writ large. Precocious Lori learns her lessons well, so when she's told that "real women don't eat dessert" and "no one could ever like a girl who has thunder thighs," she decides to become a paragon of dieting. Soon Lori has become the "stick figure" she's longed to resemble. But then what? Stick Figure takes the reader on a gripping journey, as Lori struggles to reclaim both her body and her spirit.
By turns painful and wry, Lori's efforts to reconcile the conflicting messages society sends women ring as true today as when she first recorded these impressions. "One diet book says that if you drink three full glasses of water one hour before every meal to fill yourself up, you'll lose a pound a day. Another book says that once you start losing weight, everyone will ask, 'How did you do it?' but you shouldn't tell them because it's 'your little secret.' Then right above that part it says, 'New York Times bestseller.' Some secret."
With an edgy wit and keenly observant eye, Stick Figure delivers an engrossing glimpse into the mind of a girl in transition to adulthood. This raw, no-holds-barred account is a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of living up to society's expectations.
Lori Gottlieb is author of the national bestseller, Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self, an American Library Association "Best Books 2001" selection and a Borders "Original New Voice" title. Based on her childhood diaries, Stick Figure was optioned for film by Martin Scorsese, who described Lori’s quirky teen narrator as "Holden Caulfield goes on a misguided diet." Lori is a regular commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered, and her radio features have aired on public radio’s This American Life, Weekend Edition, The Tavis Smiley Show and Marketplace. As a journalist and columnist, Lori has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Time, People, The Atlantic, Elle, Glamour, Redbook, Slate, Salon, Seventeen, CosmoGirl!, The L.A. Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Post. She also penned the monthly “Brunch With” relationships column for Mademoiselle.
author of School Girls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap
By turns earnest and funny, hopeful and tragic, eleven-year-old Lori is a latter-day Alice: She takes us through the distorted looking glass that's held up to young girls and into the harrowing land of eating disorders. There is no other word for it: You will devour this book -- and, hopefully, keep right on eating.
Sarah Saffian author of Ithaka: A Daughter's Memoir of Being Found Lori Gottlieb's eleven-year-old self is a singular storyteller of unblinking candor and precocious insight. As rife with wry humor as it is lacking in self-pity, this fast-paced chronicle of late-1970s adolescent anorexia is narrated with a light touch, and yet is chilling and poignant in its straightforward simplicity.
Martha Manning author of Undercurrents: A Life Beneath the Surface Lori Gottlieb's approach is compassionate, and very, very funny. More than just a book about anorexia, Stick Figure is an entertaining and thoughtful coming-of-age story that deals with an almost universal theme -- negotiating the minefields of early adolescence and living to tell the tale.