The Reading Cure: How Books Restored My Appetite
At the age of fourteen, Laura Freeman was diagnosed with anorexia. She had seized the one aspect of her life that she seemed able to control, and struck different foods from her diet one by one until she was starving. But even at her lowest point, the one appetite she never lost was her love of reading.
As Laura battled her anorexia, she gradually re-discovered how to enjoy food - and life more broadly - through literature. Plum puddings and pottles of fruit in Dickens gave her courage to try new dishes; the wounded Robert Graves' appreciation of a pair of greengages changed the way she thought about plenty and choice; Virginia Woolf's painterly descriptions of bread, blackberries and biscuits were infinitely tempting. Book by book, meal by meal, Laura developed an appetite and discovered an entire library of reasons to live.
The Reading Cure is a beautiful, inspiring account of hunger and happiness, about addiction, obsession and recovery, and about the way literature and food can restore appetite and renew hope.
This stirring autobiography by Laura Freeman looks set to be a key release. * IRISH INDEPENDENT *
Freeman's writing throughout is beautiful and bountiful; her descriptions of food are full of flavour and temptation; her journey to wellness an inspiring one. -- Lucy Pearson * THE LITERARY EDIT *
You might not expect a book on anorexia to be a joy to read, yet somehow this is. Laura Freeman is unflinchingly honest about the loneliness and misery of suffering from an eating disorder: the desperate calculations over 'an inch of almond milk', the 'shivering hunger'. But her pleasure in the food of literature - from sweets in Harry Potter to roast goose in Charles Dickens - is infectious. The Reading Cure will speak to anyone who has ever felt pain and found solace in a book. There are no easy epiphanies here, but you are cheering Freeman on, page by page, as she slowly recovers her appetite, both for double-cheese toasties and for life. -- Bee Wilson
The most moving, most evocative book. -- Sophia Money-Coutts * THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH *
Enchanting and original... an illuminating and highly engaging way to think about all kinds of literature. * Amanda Craig *
Laura Freeman writes for the Spectator, The Times, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, TLS, Evening Standard and Apollo. She was shortlisted for Features Writer of the Year at the 2014 British Press Awards. She read history of art at Cambridge, graduating with a double first in 2010. The Reading Cure is her first book.