A Story of Loss and Gain
By Portia de Rossi
(Atria Books, Paperback, 9781439177792, 320pp.)
Publication Date: July 5, 2011
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Now in paperback, the New York Times bestselling memoir from Portia de Rossi explores the truth of her long battle to overcome anorexia and bulimia—“an unusually fresh and engrossing memoir of both Hollywood and modern womanhood” ( Los Angeles Times, 5 stars).
In this groundbreaking memoir, Portia de Rossi reveals the pain and illness that haunted her for decades, from the time she was a twelve-year-old girl working as a model in Australia, through her early rise to fame as a cast member of the hit television show Ally McBeal . All the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, putting her life in danger and concealing from herself and everyone around her the seriousness of her illness.
She describes the elaborate rituals around food that came to dominate hours of every day and explores the pivotal moments of her childhood that set her on the road to illness. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner, ever more in control of her body and the number of calories she consumed and spent.
From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love and marrying Ellen DeGeneres and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues. In this remarkable and landmark book, she has given the world a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.
Portia de Rossi is an Australian-born actress best known for her roles in the television series Ally McBeal, Arrested Development, and most recently Better Off Ted. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife, Ellen DeGeneres.
“Written with artistry, compelling insight and lucid frankness, [Unbearable Lightness] offers solid hope and inducement to initiate the odyssey toward self-knowledge and acceptance.”
—The New York Times
“A stark, well-written portrait of how De Rossi lost control of her life as she became consumed by her struggle for perfection and acceptance.”
“In prose as simply elegant—and as powerful—as a little black dress, De Rossi weaves together three themes—the impact of a loving, but lonely girlhood as the child of a single mother, the corrosive effect of constant doubts about her appearance and the internal struggle over her sexuality.”
—Los Angeles Times (5 star review)
“De Rossi’s attention to detail is hypnotic.”
“The blunt, pity-free matter-of-factness with which de Rossi shares secrets and lies about her eating disorders and her sexuality makes this forthright confessional story at once shocking and instructional, especially for younger women who may be secretly suffering on their own.”
“De Rossi artfully draws the reader into the tension of a life lived in secrecy...her story is a cautionary tale, an inspiration, and a triumph.”
“An unflinching self-portrait...frank, brave, and revelatory.”
“Breathtakingly honest, brutal and beautiful.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer
“De Rossi tells her story with genuine insight and unflinching honesty. You will cheer her on.”
“De Rossi’s memoir reminds us that fame and celebrity are no substitute for feeling comfortable in one’s own skin.”