Reviewed by Me for TeensReadToo.com
In Nadia Shivack's heartbreaking true story, she tells the world about her life-long problem with eating disorders. Told with a mixture of text and pictures drawn by Ms. Shivack, her preoccupation with food began when her mother told her that not only did she not dress like a girl, but that she was also getting chunky. Her parents had their own problems - her father was overly critical and her mother, a Holocaust survivor, refused to let her three children leave the table until they had cleaned their plates, even though she herself only ate one small meal a day to survive.
When Nadia began swimming competitively in school, her swim coach would praise the girls who were slender and berate those who, in his opinion, needed to lose weight. She began to feel huge and unattractive, and started the cycle of abuse with restricting her diet and then binging on foods that were not allowed. It wasn't long before she met "Ed," her eating disorder - the evil alien being who took over her life.
Nadia's trouble with food was not restricted to her youth. Through high school, through college, through study programs and medication, she struggled with it her entire life. Even knowing the side effects - being unable to sleep, rotting gums from purging, being incapable of having effective relationships - it wasn't until Nadia was about to turn forty that she decided to try another treatment program.
Thankfully, Ms. Shivack did eventually overcome the horror of her eating disorder. Like many other diseases, however, she knows that this will be a lifelong struggle, something that she will always have to work at. By telling her story inside the pages of INSIDE OUT, she hopes that other people struggling with an eating disorder will realize just how serious it is, and that reaching out for help isn't a sign of weakness, but of strength.
Although I've never had an eating disorder, I truly felt empowered by reading INSIDE OUT. Nadia's story could be that of any number of young people in the world today, and I hope that they all are able to come to the same realization that she was - that letting food rule your life is never a good thing.