A Review of ‘My Secret Life: A Memoir of Bulimia’ by Leanne Waters

“But let’s not get ahead of ourselves now …”

– a review of My Secret Life: A Memoir of Bulimia by Leanne Waters

I found this book to be exceptional, for so many reasons it’s hard to articulate in this short piece.

Leanne’s writing style is up there with the best, descriptive, articulate and richly metaphorical; the recall of her experience so detailed – as only the memory of someone who has been through extreme trauma can be.

Leanne takes you through the phases of bulimia, from the socio-psychological foundations of this condition – for example, the bullying at school – to the ‘fasting’, ‘binging’, ‘purging’ and ‘recovery’ that then plays out – each stage intricately narrated for the readers understanding and at the respective pace.

You find yourself so in-tune with Leanne’s story and so fond of her personality that you wonder how in our society this self-denunciation could be allowed to happen, or to go unseen – particularly brought home as Leanne details hiding her bulimia from all those around her

My favourite line is the book is “But let’s not get ahead of ourselves now” and the most touching part for me is when her friends stand fast to support her recovery.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is invented. The Girl with the Eating Disorder is real life. Take your pick … I know which book added more to my life …

Chris Thrall is the author of Eating Smoke: One Man’s Descent into Drug Psychosis in Hong Kong’s Triad Heartland– a bestselling true story

www.christhrall.com

www.facebook.com/christhrall

Amazon US

Amazon UK

A review of Wordjazz for Stevie by Jonathan Chamberlain

“…life worth living…”

Wordjazz for Stevie is Jonathan Chamberlain’s deep and moving tribute to his late eight-year-old daughter, a candid and beautifully written soliloquy born out of the pain of loss but conveying hope, love, happiness and insight.

Stevie arrives in the world when expat Jonathan and his Chinese wife are living on a quiet island off Hong Kong. Although shocked to learn Stevie has Down syndrome, Jonathan and Bern immediately accept the additional challenges this presents, challenges that increase significantly when an operation to close a hole in Stevie’s heart goes horribly wrong, starving her of oxygen and resulting in severe disability. Towards the end of Stevie’s short-but-delight-giving years, little does Jonathan know her failing health is not the only major life-changing event on the horizon.

Wordjazz for Stevie is a remarkable testament to the human spirit, friendship and integrity. Penned with fondness and gratitude, it will appeal to anyone who has faced hardship or prejudice, love and loss, or can relate to bureaucracy and social/cultural difference whether at home or abroad. But putting the textbooks aside, it’s simply a touching and enlightening story that should inspire all who read it.

And if you’re wondering why I choose this title for my review, I opened the book at random and this is what I saw.

Chris Thrall is the author of Eating Smoke: One Man’s Descent into Drug Psychosis in Hong Kong’s Triad Heartland– a bestselling true story

www.christhrall.com

www.facebook.com/christhrall

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Alphabet of Vietnam by Jonathan Chamberlain

When men come back from war they bring the war back with them …

Having read two of Jonathan Chamberlain’s memoirs – King Hui about a Hong Kong playboy and Wordjazz for Stevie, a touching tribute to Jonathan’s late daughter who was born profoundly handicapped – I was really looking forward to reading ‘The Alphabet of Vietnam’ and seeing how Jonathan turns his hand to fiction. I was more than impressed. It is an exceptional piece of writing, well researched, one that explores the light and dark in every ‘man’s’ soul in a refreshingly unapologetic manner.

The story unfolds through a series of skillfully interwoven narratives: Two psychotic – or perhaps completely sane – Vietnam veterans who bring their sick war games home with them. A brother who comes to question all he believes in an attempt to do what is right. A return to modern-day Vietnam that explores US war crimes and the country’s rich history and culture through a series of cleverly though out vignettes.

‘And then there is love – and love is complicated …’

What a great book!

Chris Thrall is the author of Eating Smoke: One Man’s Descent into Drug Psychosis in Hong Kong’s Triad Heartland – a bestselling true story.