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From Minnpost.com:

According to writer Nicole Johns, certain [anorexia memoirs] romanticize the illness and actually encourage readers to develop or deepen an illness. In her own contribution to the genre, “Purge: Rehab Diaries,” Johns singles out Marya Hornbacher’s “Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia” as a problem book.

” ‘Wasted’ is rife with suggestions on how to develop an eating disorder and stay sick. It was obviously written while the author was in a disordered state of mind. During treatment, counselors confiscated worn copies of ‘Wasted’ from patients, because many patients were using it to trigger themselves and stay sick,” says Johns, who admits she herself used “Wasted” to “further my eating disorder.”

These are fighting words — especially considering that Johns and Hornbacher are both graduates of the University of Minnesota’s MFA program, and Hornbacher lectured at the U while Johns was a student. “When I tried to discuss this with Ms. Hornbacher after her lecture, she claimed that ‘Wasted’ helped more people than it hurt,” says Johns.

This is shaping up to be a real battle of the books. Wasted partisans have now lined up against Purgers, with Hurl, Skeleton, and Trashed readers sure to join the fight.

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