Wednesday, January 29, 2014

[Review] Letting Ana Go by Anonymous

Letting Ana Go by Anonymous 
Publisher: SimonTeen
Publishing Date: June 4, 2013
279 Pages
Format: won, paperback
Purchase Links:  Amazon |  Barnes and Noble


In the tradition of Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky, a harrowing account of anorexia and addiction.

She was a good girl from a good family, with everything she could want or need. But below the surface, she felt like she could never be good enough. Like she could never live up to the expectations that surrounded her. Like she couldn't do anything to make a change.

But there was one thing she could control completely: how much she ate. The less she ate, the better - stronger - she felt.

But it's a dangerous game, and there is such a thing as going to far...

Her innermost thoughts and feelings are chronicled in the diary she left behind.

My Review

I haven't read Go Ask Alice or Lucy in the Sky yet, but I received this book in a large giveaway hosted by SimonTeen that I won. I picked it up first because I had heard of how good Go Ask Alice was, and it sounded like a great story.

What I wasn't expecting was how much this story would get to me! We never really know the girl's name in this story, but I thought of her as Ana, since it's the name on the cover, but that could be about anorexia and not her actual name. Regardless, Ana has a pretty good life when this story starts out. She's asked to keep a food journal by her cross country coach because girls from other schools have been struggling with eating disorders and running. They restrict their calories and overexercise so much that their bodies shut down. Initially, Ana likes keeping the journal, and does a really great job with being honest. But as you read, you slowly start to see signs before the eating disorder becomes full-blown.

Ana slowly starts to become controlled by what and how much she eats. What starts out as a simple food journal becomes a journal about a severe disease. It doesn't help that her mom is struggling with her weight, her best friend has started restricting her calories to a dangerously low amount, and her friend's mom makes comments about how good Ana looks when she starts losing weight. All of these factors add up and Ana's mindset changes from being carefree, to becoming consumed with controlling her food.

It makes me really sad to see how people view themselves and feel the need to be "perfect." I've struggled with weight throughout my life, and I've definitely counted calories. But for me, it was more about choosing healthy things to eat - if I saw how many calories chips were, and how few I would be able to eat, I would choose carrots, yogurt, or fruit. It just made me much more conscious of what I was eating. I stopped counting calories after a while because it just was tedious work that I constantly forgot, but I've been able to still eat pretty healthy. I just wish more young girls (and guys) would understand this rather than trying to starve themselves. There's such a big difference between eating healthy and cutting out bad foods, and starving yourself. And anorexia doesn't just affect the person its controlling; it affects their family and friends as well.

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