For Anyone Who Has Ever Been On A Diet

Last night, I finished reading Portia de Rossi's ( Now Portia DeGeneres)Unbearable Lightness.

I actually picked this book up in Chapters back in February, and really wanted to read it. However, I have a hard time buying books like that now from big stores. The town I live in only has two bookstores, they're both independent, and one in particular, the cozy warm one, is struggling so much to pay the rent for a downtown store. Therefore that's where I like to buy my books from when I have a little extra money. So if you hear me go off about my dislike of E-readers, that's part of the reason.

The two bookstores actually didn't have this book yet, so I ordered it through the library ( IN FEBRUARY) and it finally came this week. The reason I didn't by it was because I thought, oh well, poor little rich and famous actress struggling with anorexia and bulimia who cares!? Although I love memoirs and reading about peoples deep dark struggles, I kind of rolled my eyes at this book. That is until about halfway through, when it dawned on me how crazy and intense these moments she was sharing were.

I myself don't diet, and don't really care what the scale says either. I DO however put a high priority on being fit and could definitely relate with some of the body image issues mentioned in this book. I know a LOT of people who diet and count calories and I love how this book points out how silly it is! I also didn't know a thing really about Portia aside from the fact she was on Ally McBeal and married to Ellen.

Also at random- I noticed there is an acknowledgement to Jonathan Safran Foer, with a little review quote by him on the back. He's one of my favourite authors so I just found that interesting.

I HIGHLY recommend checking this one out. Especially if you have ever been on a diet or questioned your worth by the number on the scale. Portia totally opened up and shared a very dark, very real story. You can tell SHE wrote it too, and I really liked that.

If you don't want to read it Oprah did a nice little episode with Portia about the book, in which she reads from a few pages so you get the idea. I don't watch Oprah, or listen to everything she says like so many people seem to do, but after reading this book it also helped pull everything into perspective.

So if you'd like to check it out- here ya go!
Part 1-
Part 2-
Part 3-
Part 4-

Unbearable Lightness, 305 pgs, Published November 2nd 2010 by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Goodreads Summary:
"I didn't decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. Being as thin as possible was a way to make the job of being an actress easier . . ."

Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work—first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.

In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn't enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point.

Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.

From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women's health issues.

In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, Unbearable Lightness is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.


  • Lan | August 21, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    I'm like you Alana, I don't go in for dieting either, but I guess I'm lucky because I'm so small. I can imagine what it must be like to keep wanting to lose weight. This sounds like a really interesting read and I really like Portia.

    Am in total agreement about the whole independent bookstore thing as well. Such a shame.

  • A Beer for the Shower | August 22, 2011 at 7:47 AM

    Down with diets! But not necessarily with the e-readers:) As a reader, my heart forever sits with books. As a writer, well, the key to success is knowing the future of the business. Cheers!