Publish Date: April 2009
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
Purge is a beautifully crafted memoir that has a Girl, Interrupted feel. In this raw and engaging account of her months in rehab, Nicole Johns documents her stay in a residential treatment facility for eating disorders. Her prose is lucid and vivid, as she seamlessly switches verb tenses and moves through time. She unearths several important themes: body image and sexuality, sexual assault and relationships, and the struggle to piece together one's path in life. While other books about eating disorders and treatment may sugarcoat the harsh realities of living with and recovering from an eating disorder, Purge does not hold back. The author presents an honest, detailed account of her experience with treatment, avoiding the clichéd happily-ever-after ending while still offering hope to those who struggle with eating disorders, as well as anyone who has watched a loved one fight to recover from an eating disorder. Purge sends a message: though the road may be rough, ultimately there is hope.
Being a fan of other rehab and disorder based books such as Wintergirls and A Million Little Pieces, I was very excited to receive a copy of Purge. Just as I expected, the book was powerful, beautiful, and full of hardships.
The beauty of this book was the fact that a story about such a difficult road to recovery was written so beautifully. Even though John's recount was filled with swearing, fighting, purging and relapsing, she has a powerful way with words that painted a perfect picture of every event that took place. I felt like I was sitting right there in the treatment facility recovering alongside her.
Often times, author's recounts aren't filled with nearly the right emotion, or feel like an edited version of the truth. However, Nicole Johns was brutally honest throughout the story, even if it was at the expense of her own image. The brutal honesty of John's story gave it an extra edge that screamed with power.
If you are looking for a brutally honest story about the road to eating disorder recovery, or just a powerful non-fiction story, look no farther than Purge.