I read this book in two days.
It arrived in my mailbox on Friday, I started reading it Saturday, and last night I stayed up way the heck too late to finish it.
Generally, it takes me a few months to finish a book, partly because I usually have two or three going at the same time, and I am a slow reader. But this one would not leave me be.
This is a raw, brutally-honest, grotesquely detailed novel. The pages resonate pent up anger, unsettled circumstance, and disgustingly-gross-but-real purging episodes described in painful detail.
Damn, it's good – because it is so real.
John's takes the reader through her experience as a size 9, EDNOS patient, living for a summer in an Eating Disorder Center in Milwaukee (my home town, which made this reading more intriguing, because literally drive past the places she refers to throughout the book on a daily basis).
One of the coolest parts is the book design, adorned with a great cover art and interesting fonts throughout. Inside, copies of Nicole's actual treatment papers are scattered about; names and addresses blacked out in bold black lines, handwritten journal entries detail each and every evil calorie, and even an official definition of "Normal Eating," which drove home the pathetic level we sink to with an eating disorder.
But the most important thing about PURGE, is it addresses, head on, the problem EDNOS patients face. EDNOS stands for Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Huh? Ed who?
For the record;
EDNOS sufferers are not underweight, in fact, they are more often overweight.
EDNOS sufferers look normal, all the while lurking below the surface is a young vital heart struggling to keep ticking.
EDNOS sufferers are blown off the vast majority of the population, until of course they faint, whack their head, suffer a concussion, and need to be hospitalized.
EDNOS sufferers can have blood pressure readings near zero, completely out of whack electrolyte levels, and most commonly live with a raw, burning, sometimes-ruptured esophagus.
Needless to say, John's represents the "typical" EDNOS sufferer weighing 137 pounds, all the while popping diet pill cocktails, starving, purging, and binging until she is hospitalized for fainting which leads to the real diagnosis: a concussion, electrolyte imbalances, and three different kids of heart-rhythm irregularities.
She writes PURGE to "inform the public, counteract myths surrounding eating disorders and treatment, and provide eating disordered individuals with hope."
I think you'll agree, she accomplishes all three,
Why not post your own story? Tell us what you experienced in an eating disorder treatment center, and help others along the way.