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Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gainby Portia De Rossi
Synopses & Reviews
andlt;Iandgt;and#8220;I didnand#8217;t decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. Being as thin as possible was a way to make the job of being an actress easier . . .and#8221; andlt;/Iandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard workand#8212;first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasnand#8217;t enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows andlt;Iandgt;Ally McBeal andlt;/Iandgt;and andlt;Iandgt;Arrested Development, andlt;/Iandgt;Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and womenand#8217;s health issues. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, andlt;Iandgt;Unbearable Lightness andlt;/Iandgt;is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.
"The author, an actor in movies and TV, (including Ally McBeal, Arrested Development, and Better Off Ted), model, and gay rights advocate, writes that 'playing the role of heterosexual while fantasizing about being a homosexual had been my reality since I was a child.' It's one she played into her 20s, when she was for three years married to a man. Now, she is married to Ellen DeGeneres, whom she met in 2001 after recovering from anorexia and bulimia. De Rossi nicely chronicles the years in between, during which she starved herself to 80 pounds. She artfully draws the reader into the tension of a life lived in secrecy: did anybody notice she lunges rather than walks, the better to burn calories? will anyone guess she is gay? when she nearly fainted, was anyone around? While some details could be viewed as anorexia how-tos, they make it possible to comprehend the twisted logic of de Rossi's frantic daily pursuits, and grasp the enormity of her achievement in overcoming her problems. The path de Rossi took to her happy ending is well worth reading about: her story is a cautionary tale, an inspiration, and a triumph. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Known for her roles on the hit TV shows "Ally McBeal" and "Arrested Development," de Rossi delivers a revelatory and searing account of the years she spend secretly suffering from bulimia, all the while living under the glare of Hollywood's bright lights. 8-page b&w photo insert.
About the Author
andlt;Bandgt;Portia de Rossiandlt;/Bandgt;andnbsp;is an Australian-born actress best known for her roles in the television seriesandnbsp;andlt;iandgt;Ally McBeal, Arrested Development, andlt;/iandgt;and most recently andlt;iandgt;Better Off Ted.andlt;/iandgt;andnbsp;She lives in Los Angeles with her wife, Ellen DeGeneres.
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