Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Review: Hollow by Jena Morrow

Title: Hollow: An Unpolished Tale
Author: Jena Morrow
Publication Date: 05/01/2010
ISBN: 9780802448712

It isn't common for me to cry upon reading a book, but it does happen. It is incredibly rare for me to start crying within the first 15 pages. This book made me cry huge open tears of sorrow that someone had to live like this. As I continued to read on, I was struck by Jena's strength & faith in God. It is inspiring to see someone in such a dire situation attempt to overcome such a horrible situation.

Ever since she was 3 years old, Jena has believed that she was fat. Not slightly chubby. Not pleasingly plump, but fat. From that moment on she's struck by the desire to watch every piece of food she eats... if she eats at all. Meals are a battle for her. Jena cannot even eat a piece of cake with her friends without her inner voice chastening her for it. Her anorexia follows her for several years into college despite her friends & professors attempting to help her. Eventually she is pressured by her family to seek professional help. At this point Jena is nineteen years old and weighs ninety-one pounds.

I want to put a copy of this book in the hands of every single teenager in North America, if not beyond. It doesn't matter what their gender, age, or religion is. This book is quite possibly one of the most moving biographies I've read in years. I have never felt the pressure of anorexia or bulemia- I'll admit that my disorder seemed to run in the opposite direction. Yet this book managed to make me feel every pain, every emotion that Jena felt. Not only did this book make me cry in the first 15 pages, but it made me cry several more times during my read.

This book was so gripping that I found myself unable to tear myself away from it. Rather than go to bed at my usual bedtime, I found myself reading the pages of this book with a vengeance. I couldn't stop reading. Jena's road to recovery isn't a pretty one. There's no waking up one day & suddenly finding that she can eat a full meal without agonizing over it. Her road to recovery is long & painful. This book was inspiring & I believe it will be for many readers. You don't have to be a Christian to appreciate the message in this book (although it helps).

Now for my only critique. I would have liked a little bit more detail during the book, especially towards the end. Jena's message came through loud & clear, but I would have liked for a little more detail here & there. Other than that I have to say that I have no real complaints. The sheer emotion packed into this slender novel overrode any other critiques I might have found otherwise.

Whenever I feel in a rough spot or need to rejuvinate myself, I'll try to stop & remember this book. I can honestly say that I do plan on not only recommending this book to several of my coworkers at both jobs (hospital & bookstore), but to also recommend it to friends & family. Even if they don't have any eating disorders or any problems, they more than likely know someone who does- this book will help them understand that person.

Jena, I want another book out of you. This one was fantastic.

Grade: A

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

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