Ana's Girls: The Essential Guide to the Underground Eating Disorder Community Online
This groundbreaking book is the only honest, balanced and complete introduction to the frightening online eating disorder underground. Explore a world that no one wants to believe exists: learn the secret code words, debunk the myths (find out why thousands of young girls are really flooding these sites) and read hundreds of anonymous rants, declarations of commitment and pleas for help from Ana's girls. This book does not promote eating disorders. It exposes the undeniable fact that thousands of young people are struggling in isolation with very real, life threatening disorders and we, as a society have not been able to help them. If we ignore this information, we choose to ignore their cry and lose the opportunity to gain potent insight into their world. Ana's girls are our children, our sisters, our spouses, our patients and our students; they are represented in every class and race. No community is sheltered from this pain. No community is complete without their health. Let us take the first step towards becoming whole by hearing their cry.
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This self-proclaimed "Essential Guide to the Underground Eating Disorder Community Online" dispels the outdated stereotype of anorexics as overwhelmingly white and middle-class. More importantly, it also proves, beyond the faintest shadow of a lingering doubt, that the majority of anorexics (or at least those who discuss their beloved disease online) are not intelligent overachievers.
Every aspect of the online anorexia subculture is detailed: its asinine screed, derivative slang and vernacular, common methodology and absurd religious pretensions. Most of the book consists of survey results and message board posts, nearly all of which indicate that the average online anorexic is a spoiled teenage girl or young woman with a mid-80s IQ. This is where the average reader is likely to cull most of his or her entertainment. The spelling and grammar of these lunatics is analogous to that of a particularly stupid grade-schooler. Their self-awareness is predictably nonexistent, their selfishness mind-boggling. Those few among them who are adequately literate are also verbose, and therefore possess a better means with which to exhibit their insanity.
Approximately a fifth of this book's content is comprised of original writing, which describes the aforementioned elements and conventions of pro-ana communities, websites, message boards, etc. It's congruous with the cut-and-pasted, semi-coherent babble only because it's very poorly written and formatted. Spelling and grammatical errors are legion, many passages (both entire sentences and fragments thereof) are repeated in the same paragraph and citations are wholly absent. Text is frequently rendered beside delimiters. Survey fields that ought have been presented with bold emphasis often aren't. The book's text is formatted in a twelve-point Courier monospaced typeface, its every line double-spaced. This is both ugly and obviously intended to pad its short length; were it properly formatted, this trade paperback wouldn't be half as long as its underwhelming 218 pages.
Anyone who wants to learn more about the pro-ana community can very easily do so by joining a message board and observing these obtuse psychopaths firsthand. Not only are they eager to pour their undernourished, abused hearts out to other women and girls, but they tend to throw themselves pathetically at males for attention, if only because so many of them have driven away ex-boyfriends who aren't interested in dating something that resembles a skeleton. As this activity requires no financial commitment whatsoever, this book is entirely useless save as something to giggle at for those who don't care to suffer their eyes by staring at a screen when laughing at the illiteracy of emaciated crazies. It's also another of too many ineptly self-published volumes that does nothing to help those few talented authors who want to freely publish and promote their own work.
The following invaluable advice is tendered on page 164 prior to an incomprehensible, totally incongruous summary of cannibalism: "Only one thing matters for the rest of your life. Does what you are about to put in your mouth contain carbohydrates?"
Previous review is spot-on about the ridiculous presentation and illegibility of the book. I want some kind of scholarly source on pro-ana for my dissertation but would feel uncomfortable citing this book even once.
The aforementioned reviewer's hatred for anorexics themselves leaves a pretty bad taste in my mouth as well, though.