A Girl Called Tim: Escape from Eating Disorder

Author: June Alexander

Date Of Publication: 04/10/2014

This memoir chronicles June Alexander's life through, and beyond, her battle with anorexia and bulimia. It is a powerful and vivid account, bringing to life the forty five years June lived under the cloud of an eating disorder and the joy of her recovery. Drawing heavily on the diaries that June kept from the age of twelve, the book highlights the need for understanding and compassionate support from family members and friends but also, critically, from the medical profession. It is hard not to be left with a sense of sadness that June did not receive appropriate treatment earlier but as she eloquently and passionately states:

For those who missed the chance of early intervention, and who do not have family support and understanding, there must be hope and belief that improvement in quality of life is possible.

In the foreword to the book, Graham D. Burrows, Professor of Psychiatry and President of the Mental Health Foundation of Australia, reiterates June's message:

[June] has recognised that there are many women (usually) aged in their twenties, thirties, forties and beyond, whose lives are inhibited because childhood experiences have gone undetected, untreated or ignored. Her story illustrates that […] with the right guidance, support and care, quality of life can be enhanced at any age. The same person cannot help us all and it is important for sufferers to persist until you find the right therapist. … Do not give up. The hard work and perseverance brings rewards.

In addition to June’s account, the appendices to this book offer some information for families and key strategies for those recovering. Empowering people in their recovery is something June continues to do through her writing and editing: other books include My Kid is Back: Empowering Parents to Beat Anorexia Nervosa, A Clinician's Guide to Binge Eating Disorder (co-edited by Andrea B. Goldschmidt and Daniel Le Grange) and Anorexia Nervosa: A Recovery Guide for Sufferers, Families and Friends (co-authored with Professor Janet Treasure).

In summary, a Girl Called Tim is a detailed and thorough account of one person’s experience of an eating disorder. It is sometimes distressing to read and, indeed, some readers may find the references to specific weight goals triggering. But overwhelmingly June’s memoir is a testament to the possibility of recovery and a reminder of its worth; a life lived outside of the control of an eating disorder.

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