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Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self
Synopses & Reviews
"I wish to be the thinnest girl at school, or maybe even the thinnest eleven-year-old on the entire planet," confides Lori Gottlieb to her diary. "I mean, what are girls supposed to wish for, other than being thin?" For a girl growing up in Beverly Hills in 1978, the motto "You can never be too rich or too thin" is writ large. Precocious Lori learns her lessons well, so when she's told that "real women don't eat dessert" and "no one could ever like a girl who has thunder thighs," she decides to become a paragon of dieting. Soon Lori has become the "stick figure" she's longed to resemble. But then what? Stick Figure takes the reader on a gripping journey, as Lori struggles to reclaim both her body and her spirit.
By turns painful and wry, Lori's efforts to reconcile the conflicting messages society sends women ring as true today as when she first recorded these impressions. "One diet book says that if you drink three full glasses of water one hour before every meal to fill yourself up, you'll lose a pound a day. Another book says that once you start losing weight, everyone will ask, 'How did you do it?' but you shouldn't tell them because it's 'your little secret.' Then right above that part it says, 'New York Times bestseller.' Some secret."
With an edgy wit and keenly observant eye, Stick Figure delivers an engrossing glimpse into the mind of a girl in transition to adulthood. This raw, no-holds-barred account is a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of living up to society's expectations.
Based on her childhood diaries, Gottlieb's book chronicles her preteen battle with anorexia nervosa. A precocious chess-loving student with a straight A average, young Lori aspires to supermodel thinness in an attempt to reconcile society's conflicting messages and to gain her parents' attention.
From the diaries she kept as an 11-year-old, the author's wry, perceptive account of her near-fatal struggle with anorexia nervosa is told with an unguarded openness not seen since Susanna Kaysen's "Girl Interrupted. Stick Figure" has been option for film by Martin Scorsese's De Fina/Cappa Productions.
About the Author
Lori Gottlieb, a medical student at Stanford University, is a former Hollywood executive. Her work has appeared in Salon, Slate, and Daily Variety, among other publications. She lives in California.
Table of Contents
Part One: Winter 1978
"Who Do You Think You Are, Young Lady?"
Part Two: Spring 1978
Please Help the Hungry
Part Three: Summer 1978
What Our Readers Are Saying