We first meet Marya Hornbacher in current times at a cafe with her friend Jane. Jane has just be dismissed from the hospital and begins to feel dizzy during lunch. Marya takes Jane to the hospital knowing what it is like to be a recovering anoretic and the body reacting to being fed after years of starvation.
Marya tells us that she became bulimic at age nine and anorexic at age fifteen. She floated in and out of hospitals throughout ten years. Many doctor's reports had claimed her to be a lost cause. Marya's disorder was not a result of a certain anything, she can't point her finger and blame a single incident as that would give too much credit to one pin point in the whole realm of potential causes.
Marya spent the early part of her childhood in California. Her mother was a actress and her father was a director. Marya always remembers her parents being odd about food. Her mother always picked at her food and her father was always saying he was on a diet, though ate more and more everyday. Even as a baby Marya had trouble with food. Her mother refused to breast feed her and Marya was allergic to cow's milk, soy milk and rice milk. She also had endless other allergies. Marya believes she was always self-concious of her body too. She did not like to touch or be touched by anyone. She had alwasy been mor athletic than graceful. Even as a young child Marya remembers trying very hard to get a reaction from her mother, some form of attention. Marya started obsessing about food, the number, size, order, and number of chews of her bites of food. She shows early signs of obsessive complusive disorder. Marya grew up in the theater because of her parents professions. She liked the feeling of "becoming someone else" when she acted. Marya's mother left the house often usually when she got into an argument with her husband. Marya becomes the thing that keeps her parents together, the 3rd leg of the triangle. Later Marya's father will admit to her that during those years Marya was the thing that kept him from leaving for good. In 1982 Marya and her family moved to Edina, Minnesota. Marya began school at Concord Elementary. In fourth grade she began to go through puberty. Marya was one of the first girls in her class to start puberty and was very self-concious about it. She thought she was very very fat. She began to stay home after school alone. After school she would immediately go to the fridge or cupboard and begin to eat. One day after her snack, she took a trip to the bathroom. She says that no one gave her the idea to throw up, she just did it. Shortly after, she became bulimic. From there it snowballed into a more and more severe problem.
This section was really difficult for me to read. The fact that a girl so young was having such horrible thoughts about herself made me want to cry. To tell you the truth, I almost set the book down after the first twenty pages. I predict that from here it will only get worse. Marya has told us in the begin that she is hospitalized 4 times through out the book so I'm sure this is only the begining of a very sad, long story.