When Anorexia Came To Visit

Author: Bev Mattocks

Date Of Publication: 03/10/2013

One thing I remember saying over and over again to my husband – and probably still say on occasions – is this: ‘We should have picked up on it sooner’.

This is a thought that is often expressed to the Helpline by parents supporting someone with an eating disorder; Bev Mattocks aims to “show families that they are not to blame for their child’s illness” whilst “showing families what is ‘normal’ in the world of Eating Disorders” through sharing experiences of a number of families who have been visited by Anorexia.

Whilst it can be helpful to read in depth books regarding one person or family’s experience, When Anorexia came to visit differs by offering a unique insight into the individual experiences of 20 families and their battles with Anorexia. This enables the reader to reflect on the thoughts and feelings of people at varying stages of the recovery process.

Often family members and friends of those suffering with anorexia will reflect that they had no idea as to the extent of how this illness could infiltrate their lives so deeply and suddenly and would feel unsure of what to do in this situation. The author manages to capture the essence of the roller coaster of emotions that the families interviewed have or still are experiencing, whilst providing ideas of steps that others have taken in supporting their child through their illness.

The variety of situations that are presented through the different families that contributed offers a good balance to the reader of how a singular diagnosis can have such a vast spectrum of experiences. The narrative is clear and structured in a way that can allow the reader to dip in and out and also has a comprehensive resources section that can provide further reading and options of support for the family. This book would be primarily for parents and perhaps older siblings, however the book is clear in suggesting that it is not suitable for those suffering from an eating disorder as there may be statements that could be triggering. This may also be an interesting resource for the wider family members and friends to help better people’s understanding of the day to day struggles that a family go through.

Anorexia can be an isolating and scary experience for family members and this book can start to show people that they are certainly not alone. Whilst there is not a simple solution to this complex illness, this book will give you confidence that recovery is possible even from situations where it feels improbable.

Inclusion of a book on this website does not indicate a recommendation by Beat and it is important to check whether you feel the book is suitable for you at this time. Beat try to ensure that we put a warning about any content that may be triggering in the reviews but different people will respond in different ways to things that they read. Remember, if you do feel distressed by anything you read then you can contact our Helpline Services Team to talk through how you are feeling and get information about other sources of support.