Title: Unbearable Lightness
Author: Portia de Rossi
Publisher: November 2nd 2010 by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
ISBN: 1439177805 (ISBN13: 9781439177808)
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: I saw it on David’s pile of books, so I picked it up to read the back.
Where I Obtained the Book: At my local library.
Synopsis: 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
Review: I was surprised by this book, I picked it up to hate it read the back and then couldn’t put it down. I loved it. What a struggle she went through, I cannot even begin to think some of the things she thought. Weighing food, keeping track of every bite, eating less then 300 calories a day, obsessing that someone would notice she never ate, worried her favorite bowls(invisible measuring tools she used) would go missing and still exercising like a demon(several hours in one day). The thinking she did about food is scary. I never think about food like that, there isn't enough time in the day. She discovered that an had to hire an assistant so she could keep the obsession and still work. Her life was preoccupied with not eating, but always thinking about food. Thinking about all the food she couldn’t eat and all the things she wanted to eat, it was enough to drive anyone crazy. She would starve herself and then binge and purge. She went from 87-165 pounds during her struggle, which will never truly be over.
I enjoyed the last bit of the book about eating like a normal person and keeping her weight the way she wanted it. I agree with that, don't obsess and feel better about everything. Life will not always be easy, but making the best of it is what makes it worth living. This is an amazing book. I thank her for letting us see her craziness and being honest(scary honest) about what she went through. It makes me feel good knowing that others have problems and being perfect isn't possible, even for Hollywood.
Author Biography: She was born Amanda Lee Rogers in Horsham, Victoria, Australia the daughter of Margaret, a medical receptionist, and Barry Rogers. She was raised in Grovedale, a suburb of Geelong. As a child, she modeled for print and TV commercials. She adopted the name Portia de Rossi at the age of 15, stating in 2005 that she had intended to reinvent herself, using the given name of Portia, a character from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, and an Italian last name. She studied at Geelong Grammar School and Melbourne Girls Grammar School, then the University of Melbourne Law School, but left before finishing the course to pursue an acting career.