30 Days of Books – Day 24

24 Nov

A book that you wish more people would have read

Previously: A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t

Today’s choice is not a novel so much but a memoir again. I’ve read this last year around the same time, maybe it was already December but that’s close enough. What I’m referring to is Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi.

First of all, this book was written by Portia herself, not some paid writer she told her story but she wrote it herself and she did a great job which shows she is much more then Ellen’s wife and a TV actress. I actually knew her first, before I learnt who Ellen is and even that both of them are married because Portia starred on Ally McBeal which I watched a lot when I was younger and it still was on TV.

This book tells Portia’s story of how she became anorexic and got bulimia, nearly killed herself and overcame her disease. I would like to say that it all started with her getting the role on Ally McBeal but that would be a lie since it started a long time before and just hit a high point while she was on that show. Portia was a kid-model and thus had to watch her weight. But she also liked to comfort herself with food and as she got booked more and more, there wasn’t enough time to get the weight off fast enough, so she started throwing up and doing extreme dieting.

She struggled with this disease for a LOT of years and after she got cast on Ally it took a turn for the worse. She was really crazy back then, only thinking about how much she ate, what she ate and how much she exercised. A big problem for her was that she was a closeted lesbian, she was terrified that someone in Hollywood found out about her secret and would expose it. We’re talking about the late 90s early 2000s here. There were not a lot of openly gay people in the business let alone gay characters on TV. Even Ellen’s sitcom got unceremoniously cut from TV after she came out in ‘The Puppy Episode’. Ellen lost her career until she made her amazing comeback to where she is now, so coming out was not an option for this australian actress that just got started in America.

Portia writes from her perspective – the one of the sick person and it is disturbing but also extremely moving. Who hasn’t thought about their weight, wanted to be thinner, change the way their body looked? I know I did but thankfully I was always too lazy to diet. This book is for every one who has ever been on a diet because it shows you where a harmless diet could lead you which is why this is my pick for a book you wish more people would have read. Everyone should read this, mothers, daughters, fathers and sons. Anorexia and bulimia kill people and it is a vicious disease that is not easy to overcome.

In Portia’s case, her love for Ellen overcame her fear of coming out as a lesbian. In a way, love healed her. She had battled most of her disease before they got together but finding the love of her life did certainly help seal the deal.

I cannot advertise this book enough because it is a brave move to put your story out there for everyone to read it like this. I truly admire that. Also, you cannot be a member of the L club and not be a fan of Ellen and Portia because they rock!

Next: A character you can relate to the most

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2 Responses to “30 Days of Books – Day 24”

  1. viveka November 25, 2012 at 00:41 #

    I can see that you’re really taken by this book and her story. I don’t know if I could manage to read a whole book about suffering and illness – I think it would make me think too much and not find it relaxing. I’m funny like that. For me a book should be like a good film – an escape from reality. I think my cancer and the treatment of if – have changed my views on books.

    • Wilhelmina Upton November 25, 2012 at 11:09 #

      Of course it’s not a novel that transports you into a magical land where cool stuff happens and you can forget about reality but it’s very interesting so see what is going on in the brain of someone with an eating disorder. Why they act the way day do even if it sounds totally crazy to every ‘normal’ person.

      Even before Mom got sick, I always ran away from books and movies with cancer in it. I just couldn’t take it. There is only one book I and one movie I ever read/watched on that subject.

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