Slim to None : A Journey Through the Wasteland of Anorexia Treatment

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9780071410694: Slim to None : A Journey Through the Wasteland of Anorexia Treatment

A young woman's fatal battle with anorexia, in her own words

In the tradition of Go Ask Alice, Prozac Nation, and Girl Interrupted, Slim to None grants readers precious access to the emotional and psychological underpinnings of its author. Step-by-step, readers follow Jenny's long journey through a "wasteland" of failed treatments and therapies, false hope, and abuse by the mental health system that kept her captive most of her life.

Although this disease has been at the forefront of public awareness for years, anorexia continues to claim more victims than any other mental illness. Slim to None reveals the glaring inadequacy of the mental health system to treat and fully understand this disease.

The first journal of an anorexic to be published posthumously, the book discloses the innermost thoughts, fears, and hopes of a young girl stricken and fighting to recover.

Jenny Hendricks painstakingly recorded her experiences as she suffered from and eventually succumbed to this eating disorder. With candor, she recounts being shipped from one doctor to another and subjected to widely varying treatments--all of which ultimately proved unsuccessful. Her father, Gordon Hendricks, fills in this compelling narrative with his own memories of his daughter's struggle.

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From the Back Cover:

"It took three weeks for my body to shut down. When I was close to the end, I couldn't see very well and could talk only in hoarse whispers because my mouth was so dry. I slept most of the time. But I didn't feel sick. I felt at peace, finally emptied of all the mind and body filth. No more terrifying flashbacks. No more disgust with my body . . . with me. Nothing hurt. I wasn't even hungry. And I didn't have to worry about how guilty I feel when I eat and throw up, and even worse, how anguished I feel when I eat and don't throw up."
--Jenny Hendricks, age twenty-five

The true story of one brave young woman's fatal battle with anorexia, from its onset until her final days--in her own words

"This book is a cry from the heart of an anguished father who has enriched our understanding of anorexia as described by his remarkable daughter Jenny in the journals she wrote leading up to her death."
--George McGovern, former U.S. senator and author of Terry: My Daughter's Life and Death Struggle with Alcoholism

"Through Jennifer Hendricks' words, we see that anorexia nervosa is a lethal obsession. Her book provides education and awareness that can help others understand and overcome this disease."
-- Christopher Athas, vice president of the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)

"Patients' voices can all too easily be forgotten in the world of mental health care, but Jenny's voice rings strong. Through this earnest and captivating exposure, her father succeeds in keeping her story alive."
--David B. Herzog, M.D., president and founder of the Harvard Eating Disorders Center

This eloquently written, heart-wrenching book shares a brave but tormented young woman's candid chronicle of her long and ultimately fatal battle with the eating disorder anorexia. In the tradition of Go Ask Alice, Wasted, and Girl Interrupted, the late Jenny Hendricks speaks to you from her own carefully detailed personal journals--a practice suggested as treatment by one of her many doctors.

Gently edited and narrated by her father, Slim to None vividly illustrates Jenny's intense emotional struggles--her pride at improving her health clashing with her undefined guilt over eating, her internal conflict between will and reason, and the dispiriting war between self-confidence and self-doubt that plagued her. Most of all, here is an amazing account of the efforts to understand the root of an illness that continues to confound the mental-health system, even at the dawn of the twenty-first century.

As we are privy to over a decade of Jenny's battle, much of it spent in hospital confinement, we are also witness to an often painfully incoherent series of treatment approaches. From a confrontational therapist to a pseudo Christian savior who tried to exorcise her to myriad therapy programs, conflicting speculations, and diagnoses from numerous experts, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and MDs, here we learn what is really discussed between a suicidal anorexic and her caretakers--as well as the family dynamics at work and their possible role in the illness.

Reading of the many frustrating, fruitless attempts to "cure" Jenny, we, like her family, are finally left to grapple with the unanswered questions and tragic mystery at the heart of her demise--and to fulfill her last wish by accepting the rare gift of her compelling story.

About the Author:

Jennifer Hendricks was the valedictorian of her high school class but spent most of her last five years confined in hospitals. She weighed just forty-five pounds when she died at age twenty-five.

Gordon Hendricks, a retired CPA, has received several awards for excerpts from this book and continues to write for magazines and syndicated newspapers, including the Rocky Mountain News and Steamboat Today. He won third place in the Best of the West fiction contest for his story "The Prize." He lives with his wife in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

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