Thank you to Raised Voice Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: family relationships, eating disorders, sexual abuse, self harm, suicide, death.
Goodreads Rating: 3.5 Stars
First off, if you didn’t read the trigger warning, read it now, because this book is one big long trigger.
Okay, now we can discuss.
What I thought was going to be Ritchie’s recount of her sister’s battle with an eating disorder turned out to be a compilation of prose that pieced together a life of four siblings who struggled with their traumatic childhood. In Malnourished, Ritchie doesn’t shy away from examining not only her sister’s childhood traumas, but her own as well, and how the cause created a ripple affect as they aged.
Ritchie explains that much of her sister’s problems with eating started with their stepfather’s abusive behavior towards them, and their mother’s dismissal of nurturing behavior. Add on the societal pressure of appearing thin, and nurtured fear and disgust of fatness, and there you have a tale of two impressionable young women desperately seeking attention and approval. Where the difference lay between them was her personal attempts to be noticed, and the stark contrast of her sister’s attempt to disappear before their eyes.
Malnourished isn’t the most organized selection of prose I’ve read, with excessively repetitive information and a blurry chronological timeline. However, the stark writing and poetic description creates an ethereal trip down memory lane for the reader. Ritchie’s emotional impact is clearly defined, and there is no lack of honesty in her interpretation of events- to the point where I as a reader felt uncomfortable with the rawness of her words.
Overall, Malnourished may not have been what I expected, but it’s absolutely worth reading. Just take heed with your heart on this one, because this book is sure to bruise.
Published: January 21, 2020
Publisher: Raised Voice Press
TL/DR: Malnourished: A Memoir of Sisterhood and Hunger by Cinthia Ritchie
Read it? Definitely.
Recommend it? Yes, but with caution. There are a lot of triggering topics discussed.
Buy it? I am on the fence with this one. Some people will need to buy this book because they’ll connect with it so strongly, while others may not be able to handle the hurt in it.
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