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.
It reads like a novel. (Boston Globe)
Poignant...Gottlieb is dead-on about society's irrational attitudes towards women's bodies. (Washington Post Book World)
Very, very funny...an entertaining and thoughtful coming-of-age story. (Martha Manning, author of Undercurrents)
Sarah Saffianauthor of Ithaka: A Daughter's Memoir of Being FoundLori Gottlieb's eleven-year-old self is a singular storyteller of unblinking candor and precocious insight. As rife with wry humor as it is lacking in self-pity, this fast-paced chronicle of late-1970s adolescent anorexia is narrated with a light touch, and yet is chilling and poignant in its straightforward simplicity.
Martha Manningauthor of Undercurrents: A Life Beneath the SurfaceLori Gottlieb's approach is compassionate, and very, very funny. More than just a book about anorexia, Stick Figure is an entertaining and thoughtful coming-of-age story that deals with an almost universal theme -- negotiating the minefields of early adolescence and living to tell the tale.
Peggy Orensteinauthor of School Girls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence GapBy turns earnest and funny, hopeful and tragic, eleven-year-old Lori is a latter-day Alice: She takes us through the distorted looking glass that's held up to young girls and into the harrowing land of eating disorders. There is no other word for it: You will devour this book -- and, hopefully, keep right on eating.
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?"
Captain of Justice
Real Women Don't Eat Dessert
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
"That's My Girl"
The Lori Monument
Sorry About the Milk Shake, Mr. President
Day of Atonement
Part Two: Spring 1978
Please Help the Hungry
If You Can Pinch an Inch
Level F, Section Pink
Facts and Figure
Don't Talk with Your Mouth Full
Chewing on Air
"Hello, Angels....It's Charlie"
E Is for Electrolyte
Part Three: Summer 1978
Life without Andy Gibb
Cutting the Fat
Do Not Resuscitate
You Can Never Be Too Rich or Too Thin