Book review: Hope and Other Luxuries by Clare B. Dunkle and Elena Vanishing by Elena & Clare B. Dunkle

Hope and Other Luxuries by Clare B. Dunkle & Elena Vanishing by Elena and Clare B. Dunkle

Read individually ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read as a pair ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I discovered this pair of books at a time in my life when I needed them. Sometimes, I think Hope and Other Luxuries was able to provide a “friend” who could relate to me in a moment where there wasn’t anyone who could really relate. Someone very important to me was confronting the difficulties of selective restrictive eating disorder management. I was slowly watching them become a shadow of themselves and it was breaking my heart.

A mother and her daughter write individual memoirs narrating their experiences in managing the daughter Elena’s anorexia.

The beauty in this pair of books lies not so much in what is written in the individual books – what renders the accounts truly unique lies in the differences between their recollections.

Hope and Other Luxuries depicts the difficult role of a mother striving to understand what it truly means to be anorexic while tirelessly trying to help manage her daughter’s illness. She witnesses her daughter becoming a shadow of her former self and the reader quickly realizes the cost of hope to a mother who keeps on hoping that being out of the woods is just around the corner.

In Elena Vanishing, Elena recounts the events which occurred throughout her illness and portrays the tortuous self-talk of someone battling anorexia incredibly vividly.

The questions which arise and the differences between the two memoirs taking place within the same time period serves a reminder that we must withhold judgement as we attempt to decipher the “truth” of a situation.

I highly recommend this pair of memoirs, if you, a friend or a loved one is engaged in a struggle to manage an eating disorder and/or any addictive behaviour to be honest.