Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves - Crystal Renn The first two-thirds of Hungry, wherein she discusses her descent into anorexia and then her recovery in linear, focused fashioned makes it rise to the top of the masses of eating disorder memoirs on the market. Without a doubt this is one of the better written memoirs on the subject, and it has something a lot sorely lack: a sense of humor. Also, there's the feeling while reading (and who knows how accurate this is, but for her sake, I hope it's authentic) that Renn truly is in recovery from her eating disorder and has her whole, healthy life ahead of her now. Far too many of the ED memoirs lack that, are written by women desperate to say they're recovered even as you can feel them teetering on the brink. Some pay lip service to recovery while the opposite is blatantly apparent, undermining claims by providing what is basically a "How To" manual for the likewise ill. (Hornbacher, I'm looking at you.) Well-written, funny, and smart, when Renn is talking about her main focus, the book is great, reads smoothly, and keeps the reader interested.

Unfortunately, when she allows herself to get side-tracked? That's where the last one-third of the book comes in, and it's filled with diatribes about society, the BMI scale, and public opinion that go on for pages and pages too long. (Oddly enough, she never really takes the modeling industry itself to task in a serious, in-depth way. Brave enough to share with the world her inner turmoil; not stupid enough to take on the industry that is her livelihood.) These rants are boring, the writing suffers, and the information is suspect. With no sources cited, Renn's ramblings about health and BMI should be taken with large grains of salt, as she gives no citation to the information she is citing. Until I can study the context of the information she's putting forth, I will remain suspicious. Statistics, numbers, and basic findings can be twisted to suit any aim; it's the context that counts. Unfortunately, there is none presented by Renn's own.

Skip the last chapter entirely. It's nothing but an extended cheerleading section for the healthy and/or overweight.

Her recovery is presented almost as a miracle, which is jarring and fundamentally untrue. "And one day I decided to eat..." is nice, but there's no way that's all there was to it. The decision to get healthier is the first step, a required step, but I do not believe for a second that she simply started eating again and that was that. There had to be a lot more behind-the-scenes machinations: nutritionists, therapists, support, etc. Maybe those memories were too painful or simply too personal for what Renn was trying to accomplish. Fair enough, no blame for that. But even just a sentence to recognize the fact that it wasn't so simple as simply picking up a fork would have kept her success from feeling demeaning to all those young girls, women, and men who haven't been able to make a recovery no matter how hard they tried. There's a reason eating disorders are the deadliest mental illness. And there's no reason to feed into ignorance of the judgmental masses by implying all that one has to do is pick up a plate. Yes, one needs to decide, "I'm going to eat," but there is so much more than that, and on showing that, Renn failed.

A good editor should have taken care of these issues. It's disappointing, because with some liberal cutting and editing near the end, Hungry easily could have earned a five star rating.

But like I said, that's only the final one-third of the book. Read up to the point where she signs with Ford and gains weight along with a healthier outlook, and then stop. At that point, if you close the cover and put it aside, there will be nothing to complain about. A satisfying read.

As cliche as it sounds, there is hope in the pages of Hungry, and for that alone, this is recommended. A stand-out in the genre.