"Food Fight" is a book about eating disorders targeted to America's most at-risk group- adolescent girls. This is their book as much as it is author Janet Bode's. Sprinkled throughout the facts and statistics of anorexia and bullimia, are bits and pieces of the writings of young girls. They write about their families, their friends, their lives at school, and mostly, their body image. One writes: "I hate my entire appearance. My hair is too thin and I wish it was curly. I hate my face. My ears stick out and now I have acne... but the worst is my weight... I can't stop thinking about food. I am fat. I am disgusting." It only makes it worse to realize that this girl is ten years old. In fact, "Food Fight" makes one aware that the problem of eating disorders is getting worse. The girls who develop the disorders are younger and younger. Clearly American girls are in trouble, and Bode wants us to do something about it. This book is her contribution to the battle against anorexia and bullimia. It serves as a sensitive guide to these girls, girls who are so often labled as "over-achievers" or "good" girls. On the outside, Bode notes, girls who develop eating disorders may look as though they have everything going for them. But on the inside they feel upset. But Bode wants people to understand that an eating disorder is not just a problem with an individual girl. It is a problem with families, with society, and with American culture. She explains the many reasons why a girl might develop anorexia. It may be triggered by a comment her father makes. It may be that she sees a skinny woman in a magazine ad, or all the supermodels she sees on TV. For whatever reason, the girl begins to think her life would be better if she just lost a little bit of weight. It often begins with a diet. But then she wants to lose more and more. Often, before she or her family notices, her problems with eating have spun out of control. Most frightening of all is the fact that studies have shown that children as young as two years old have already learned the message that thinner is better. Is it any wonder that, as Bode notes in a chapter headed "Food for Thought", in one school 43% of girls in 5th through 8th grade had dieted? And 54% felt they looked fat? Despite these alarming statistics, no one has really listened to young girls themselves about their thoughts on eating disorders- no one, that is, until Janet Bode. As author Janet Bode explains in her concluding chapter, this book was a project on many levels. Bode spoke to experts on nutrition and eating disorders. She spoke to parents. But what makes her book unique is that she collaborated with a grammar school English class and used the writings of hundreds of girls in the seventh and eighth grades. Although many books have been written on this topic, this is the first book that takes it into account that the age of girls afflicted with anorexia and bullimia is getting younger and younger. This is Janet Bode's wake-up call. It is both well-written and easy to understand. It is informative and educational, with instructions readers on nutrition and good diets; diets meant not for losing weight, but rather achieving health. It is a guide for parents also, instructing them to the warning signs and the steps to take to help build a girl's self-image and prevent eating disorders. It is personal and sensitive, the stories of these girls are all too familiar. These girls are our friends, sisters, daughters, and maybe even ourselves. All in all, Janet Bode has written a wonderful and necessary book that certainly gives us food for thought.
Reviewed by Adinah. Grade: ----- in , - Link directly to entry