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Book reviews

A New Name: grace and healing for anorexia

By Emma Scrivener.

With one of the most stunning opening pages of any book this reviewer has ever read, Emma Scrivener proves herself to be an extremely valuable Christian writer. The book is a view from the inside on an eating disorder we have all heard of today, anorexia.

The author tells a sometimes riveting story of a very brilliant little girl who basked in the praise and approval of everyone in her world. She grew addicted to perfection – and perhaps to her reputation as the perfect little girl -- long before adolescence. When she experienced her first great loss in life, she was severely shaken up by the fact that things happen that are out of our control. Adolescence brought the message up close and personal, as her body and her hormones started changing her in ways that were most distressing.

I am not going to tell you the entire story here, including her ins and outs with various churches, her battle which she sometimes thought she was winning, and other times saw she was losing. Suffice it to say, with the help of God and the support of her family, she made her way out.

Now ladies and gentlemen, if you are a bit chubby, like this reviewer is, you might say to yourself, Now there’s a book I will never have to read! But in a sense, the illusions that took over when Emma Scrivener spiralled down into anorexia are very much like the illusions we feel in other personal and spiritual struggles: “The universe is out of control, yet you’re trying to mastermind everything in it. You believe you’re in charge, yet you’re really enslaved.” If you are a bit compulsive in your housekeeping, or if you are a perfectionist at work, if you just can’t get that guy or that girl off your mind, or if you are addicted to gambling, even, it occurs to me, if you are obsessed with your unsuccessful diet, this book has things in it for you.

And it’s a very good story

A New Name: grace and healing for anorexia

By Emma Scrivener, InterVarsity press: Nottingham, 2012

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