Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Alli's CBR-III Review #4 - Unbearable Lightness

I don't know how to begin my review for Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi. I don't know how personal to get with my experience reading this book. I don't even know how to describe it, it is not a biography, not a novel, it is an unabashed confession of a person with an eating disorder, a person like me.

Portia, like so many of us, struggled with body image and issues of self worth her whole life. Growing up in Australia she never felt quite pretty enough, quite good enough. When competing she felt that she had to be first or why not even try, even winning with a close margin was not good enough.

When she got the part on Ally McBeal she never felt that she deserved it. The adjustment to being a "celebrity" proved too much for her, and being gay and not quite coming to terms with it didn't help matters at all. Portia relates how this all factored into her eating disorder becoming life threatening.

The majority of the book focuses on the details of her disorder, which is relatable to those of us who have been there. I found that she seems so happy now, and seems to have found a way to be healthy and just to listen to her body and not binge, starve or exercise obsessively. I wish that she spent more of the book focusing on the recovery side of things, as that is the hardest part about having an eating disorder. Food can never be avoided, we can just hope to find the reason to be healthy and the love for ourselves to know that we do matter.


  1. I thought the same thing, the book ended early, we see a lot of the disordered part and not so much insight into the recovery. Personally, I did not like the fact that there were so many specifics regarding her habits, and then nothing regarding her recovery, I feel that books on eating disorders can too easily become a how-to reference bible for girls out there, especially when the book doesn't delve enough into the hard parts of recovery. I've found this and other books putting ideas back into my head, like ooh I never did that, that might work, etc. rather than helping keep the thoughts away. I would recommend Wasted as a better book, even if the author's not a celebrity.

  2. I will check out "Wasted", I just downloaded a sample of it on iBooks.