GIRLS Under Pressure

The book revolves around Ellie, a girl who is slightly overweight, but feels that she is significantly overweight and decides she wants to lose weight. She begins to lose and still feels fat and wants to lose more, all the time knowing a girl, Zoe, who is severely anorexic, but being sure that she will not become like Zoe.

This is brought on by a modeling competition, with Ellie envious of some of the other girls in the competition who have bodies more resembling those of actual models.

At a competition Ellie goes with her friend Nadine who ends up insulting Ellie afterwards, further reinforcing Ellie's concept of herself as a fat slob.

There's also a situation where another friend of hers, Magda, nearly ends up being the victim of date-rape.

Ellie and her family go to a country cottage for Christmas and Ellie has a very large lunch. She goes to an outdoor toilet and forces herself to throw up. Things get even worse for her when a guy she sort of thought was her boyfriend shows up with his new girlfriend.

She stuffs herself at Christmas dinner and then again goes out to force herself to throw up, but this time is caught by Anna(her stepmother) and she, Anna and her father try to talk out what is going on with her but the talk doesn't go well at all.

Towards the end it's revealed that Zoe is in the hospital due to her nearly dying of heart failure caused by her anorexia. Ellie goes to visit her, but she's been transferred to a psychiatric institution. Ellie manages to get in and visit her and the visit sparks a new self-awareness in Ellie, a self-awareness that she can use to stop her slide towards anorexia and learn how to accept herself just as she is.

This is a fairly good book on the subject but not the best one that I've read. It has a lot of the normal type of things such as how women are pressured into trying to conform to a particular standard of body structure and how this can result in anorexia but the way in which Ellie's eating habits are referred to is almost too over-the-top. You could get the impression that Ellie is almost a food junky; her desire to eat (a lot) is sort of overdone. Also, I somehow never got any real sense of urgency about her; you basically just knew that Ellie was going to pull out of her tailspin into anorexia with very little trouble.

I'm not saying the book is bad; it's still fairly good, but not the best one on this subject.