Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self

Lori Gottlieb, Author Simon & Schuster $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-684-86358-0
After happening upon the diary she kept when she was 11 years old, Gottlieb was moved to publish this chronicle of her struggle with anorexia nearly 20 years after she wrote it. In the late 1970s, she lived with her parents and brother in Beverly Hills, where Gottlieb's loneliness and concern about looking attractive to boys swiftly transformed into an obsession with dieting, although she had never been overweight. In her diary entries, she presents her father as a successful but emotionally withdrawn stockbroker, and her mother as a controlling airhead whose major concerns were her appearance and shopping. Gottlieb's parents became very alarmed, however, when their daughter, who believed that even smelling food would make her gain weight, kept refusing to eat. They took her to their family physician and then to a therapist who hospitalized her for several months when her condition continued to deteriorate. Though it is clear that Gottlieb, who is a regular contributor to Salon, has polished her childhood diary, her descriptions of preteen vulnerability and self-consciousness ring true--for example, when she recounts how, at lunchtime one day, her popularity skyrocketed because she could figure out a diet plan for every girl. In the context of the daunting (though unfootnoted) statistic Gottlieb cites, that ""50% of fourth grade girls in the United States diet, because they think they're too fat,"" her diary offers haunting evidence of what little progress we have made. Agents, Jill Grinberg and Laurie Fox. First serial to YM; BOMC and QPB alternates; 3-city author tour; foreign rights sold in Germany, Finland and Portugal. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2000
Release date: 03/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-425-17890-4
Prebound-Glued - 240 pages - 978-0-613-69088-1
Paperback - 222 pages - 978-1-4391-4890-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57511-089-9
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-21465-0
Hardcover - 192 pages - 978-0-7868-6308-2
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4391-4253-0
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