Cover image for Brave girl eating : a family's struggle with anorexia
Brave girl eating : a family's struggle with anorexia
Brown, Harriet, 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Harper, 2011.

2011, ©2010
Physical Description:
xvi, 270 pages ; 21 cm
"Millions of families are affected by eating disorders, which usually strike young women between the ages of fourteen and twenty. But current medical practice ties these families' hands when it comes to helping their children recover. Conventional medical wisdom dictates separating the patient from the family and insists that "it's not about the food, " even as a family watches a child waste away before their eyes. Harriet Brown shows how counterproductive--and heartbreaking--this approach is by telling her daughter's story of anorexia. She describes how her family, with the support of an open-minded pediatrician and a therapist, helped her daughter recover using family-based treatment, also known as the Maudsley approach"--Cover.
Foreword / Before : What I wish everyone knew -- Down the rabbit hole -- Home again, home again -- There will be cake -- Country of mental illness -- Trouble is now -- September -- In which we take on the insurance company, and lose -- Watching Kitty -- Crusts and crumbs -- Happy ending -- Epilogue: Relapse, recovery, renewal.
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Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC552.A5 B76 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
RC552.A5 B76 2011 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



"One of the most up to date, relevant, and honest accounts of one family's battle with the life threatening challenges of anorexia. Brown has masterfully woven science, history, and heart throughout this compelling and tender story."
--Lynn S. Grefe, Chief Executive Officer, National Eating Disorders Association

"As a woman who once knew the grip of a life-controlling eating disorder, I held my breath reading Harriet Brown's story. As a mother of daughters, I wept for her. Then cheered."
--Joyce Maynard, author of Labor Day

In Brave Girl Eating, the chronicle of a family's struggle with anorexia nervosa, journalist, professor, and author Harriet Brown recounts in mesmerizing and horrifying detail her daughter Kitty's journey from near-starvation to renewed health. Brave Girl Eating is an intimate, shocking, compelling, and ultimately uplifting look at the ravages of a mental illness that affects more than 18 million Americans.

Author Notes

Harriet Brown is a regular contributor to the new York Times and also has written for O, Redbook. Psychology Today, and other publications. Her previous books include Feed Me!, which is also the title of her popular blog that covers food, weight, and body image (

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Brown tells the story of her family's battle with anorexia, the demon that suddenly possesses her bright, pretty daughter, Kitty. Brown is alternately an introspective and anguished parent and a fierce advocate for the Maudsley approach, a family-based therapy that focuses on restoring the patient to physical health before fully dealing with the psychological challenges he or she faces. Brown carefully amasses facts about anorexia and the effects of starvation in between bouts at the dinner table as Kitty refuses to eat and, occasionally, hides her food. The standoffs are emotionally draining for the entire family, including Kitty's younger sister, Emma, whom Brown worries is also at risk for the disease. At the crux of Brown's affecting and informative memoir is the idea that anorexia can happen to any family and that it can be defeated through determination and love, even though Brown recognizes that permanent success can be elusive. In the end, she knows that all any family can do is try, and that her eldest daughter will not be left to fight her demon alone.--Boyle, Katherine Copyright 2010 Booklist

Table of Contents

Danielle Grange, Ph.D.
Forewordp. xi
Author's Notep. xv
before What I Wish Everyone Knewp. 1
chapter 1 Down the Rabbit Holep. 9
chapter 2 Home Again, Home Againp. 45
chapter 3 There Will Be Cakep. 69
chapter 4 The Country of Mental Illnessp. 97
chapter 5 The Trouble is Nowp. 121
chapter 6 Septemberp. 141
chapter 7 In Which We Take On the Insurance Company, and Losep. 165
chapter 8 Watching Kittyp. 187
chapter 9 Crusts and Crumbsp. 203
chapter 10 The Happy Endingp. 225
epilogue Relapse, Recovery, Renewalp. 245
Acknowledgmentsp. 259
Resourcesp. 263