Unbearable Lightness

Unbearable Lightness

A Story of Loss and Gain

Book - 2010
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"I didn't decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. Being as thin as possible was a way to make the job of being an actress easier . . ."

Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work--first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.

In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn't enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point.

Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.

From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women's health issues.

In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, Unbearable Lightness is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2010.
Edition: 1st Atria hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781439177785
Branch Call Number: 921 DeRossi
Characteristics: 308 p. : ill. ; 4 cm.


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Jul 28, 2018

I'm not finished the book yet but so far, it is extremely deep and I find, well told. You really get to see how this journey was for Portia and not the public's eye. I love it, it's an amazing book.

athompson10 May 24, 2015

Harrowing story of the bleakness, pain and obsessiveness that is a full-blown eating disorder. I found some of her conclusions at the end, while they work for her, to be a little neatly packaged and trite.

Mar 31, 2015

It was a well written book. Gave me lots of insight as to the life she had to lead. It was moving because it was so raw with her emotions. Made me cry and think about my little girls.

Jan 25, 2015

a bit of a slow start, but really raw and honest. certainly did not make me want to get better, but a good read nonetheless. can be quite triggering.

Oct 02, 2013

Great book, didn't know any of thing from her life so it was interesting to read a story of a girl - teen - woman trying to find herself in the world and being contained in her own personal hell. I really liked this book, couldn't put it down. She is a very good writer, kept me interested and rooting for her. Didn't care about the part at the end where she went into not eating animals anymore and felt more connected to the world - that part seemed kind of hokey to me.

Oct 25, 2012

I liked that this story is a personal experience of a woman who struggled with an eating disorder because it lets you get inside the mind of someone with anorexia/ bulimia, so you can understand exactly why they do what they do. However, I didn't really know who Portia De Rossi was before I read this, and I didn't know any of the actors or tv shows she mentioned, so I did get a little bored reading this. My favorite part was actually the very ending where she talks about her life now and is basically just reflecting on her past, and she says a lot of really inspiring things. Overall, I think this is a good personal story about eating disorders, but I much prefer Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Jun 26, 2012

Kudos to this brave woman for sharing her very personal life story.
In the last few pages she spoke directly to me as she wrote: "And dieting, I discovered, was another form of disordered eating, just as anorexia and bulimia similarly disrupt the natural order of eating. Ordered eating is about eating for enjoyment, for health, and to sustain life. Thinking about food to the point of obsession and ignoring your body's signals is a disorder.

Jun 09, 2012

boring read as far as eating-disorder related novels go.

May 11, 2012

I really, really enjoyed this book. I'm sure any woman can relate at some point. A very honest look at selt-worth and how mean we can be to ourselves. I only wish she provided more info on her recovery.

bonjovi2010 Nov 14, 2011

Great book.Couldn't put it down.

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Aug 21, 2013

oatmealseed thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Mar 15, 2012

TheIronLibrarian thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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