Hey everyone, so for this week’s blog post I decided I would pick a book that has been a staple in my collection now for the past few years. I picked up this book at a bookstore in New Jersey one afternoon because I needed some good beach reading material, but after reading through it once I fell in love with it. I have proceeded to read it many more times, too many to count really. The book is called Letting Ana Go by Anonymous. This book is from the same publishers who put out Go Ask Alice, which is a very popular book and I believe many people have heard of. This book is in the same style of Go Ask Alice, but the topic it covers is completely different.
Letting Ana Go is the real diary of a young sixteen year old girl. The reader never learns her name and the names of all the people she mentions in the book have been changed, but the message is not lost. The author of this diary starts it as a food diary by the request of her track coach, who wants to encourage healthy eating behaviors in her runners and to make sure the team is eating the way they should. The main character, who I will refer to as She, starts off not really caring about the diary and just using it to enter the calories her track coach wants to see. She has a best friend named Jill, who is training to be a ballerina, who slowly drags her into the world of restrictive eating. Due to the stress of her arguing parents and the need to be accepted, She goes along with Jill to appease her best friend. However, restrictive eating quickly becomes an obsession for Her, spurred on by Jill, the stress in Her life, and the need to be loved by the boy in her life, Jack. This diary is the real life chronicle of this young girl and her descent into the world of anorexia.
I apologize for a semi brief and possibly vague summary of this book. I am doing so for a reason. The first time I read this book, the only knowledge I had about it was from the back excerpt, and that is what I am trying to limit my description to. Giving away what She talks about doing and thinking in this diary would ruin the effect it has on the reader. The first time I read this book, I cried. Full on sobbed, because the thought that any human being would go through this disease and be so controlled by it to think that what they were doing was okay was heartbreaking. If eating disorders are any kind of trigger for you, I would not recommend reading this book. The topics and emotions written about are hard to read sometimes, and it is elevated by the fact that this is the diary of a real person.
I hope I haven’t scared anyone away from reading this book. Yes, it gets intense sometimes. Yes, it discusses difficult topics. Yes, there are things She goes through that may make you upset. But I think the books that bring out emotions are the best ones, because they are the ones we remember. And this book has been memorable for me for so many reasons. I love it because it is so honest and real. Many time in the media anorexia is glamorized or played down as “not a real disease” and that drives me crazy because that is just not true. I love it because it is the words of a real teenage girl, someone I can connect to on multiple levels. I love it because it reminds me that while my body may not look perfect according to society’s standards, it is the only one I have, and I have to love it for all of the wonderful things it allows me to do everyday. I love this book because it shows young women that you do not have to restrict your eating or do anything extreme to change the way you look to have beautiful people and adventures in your life.
I have never had anorexia nor any eating disorder, nor do I claim to be the expert on them. I don’t firsthand know what it is like to struggle with an eating disorder. However, I strongly believe this book should be read by all young women, so educate them on the effects of anorexia and show them how the disease can not only affect your body but your mind and the way you see yourself in the mirror. The writing style and the grammar doesn’t really matter in this book; it is about the content and the messages you can take away.
I give this book a 4.8/ 5. As I mentioned in my last blog post two weeks ago, I’m saving my five for a few very special books that I will probably discuss in the coming weeks. But this one comes extremely close to those. I really hope you give this book a try. I hope it helps you learn to love your body and the blessings you have in your life like it helped me with mine. Whenever I have a bad day, I remember the struggles of the girl in this book and it empowers me to not think negative body thoughts, but positive ones. I hope that is what She would want by people reading her diary.
Hopefully this blog post wasn’t too much of a downer, but I hope you enjoyed it. I shall try to alternate between heavy topic books (those are some of my favorites, which is why I will talk about them) and lighter books. Anyway, I truly hope you read this book. Have a wonderful weekend, and remember to think positively and always love yourself.