Reviews for A Girl Named Tim
A Girl Called Tim is a treasure from the heart to the hearts and minds of others as it invites a compassionate understanding of these painful illnesses. June Alexander’s ability and willingness to create such a memoir is a gift.
Lynn GrefePresident and C.E.O. National Eating Disorders Association
March 2012, from “A”, South Australia:
I have just finished reading A Girl Called Tim. Thank you for giving hope of recovery, guidance and a sense that suffers of EDs are not alone.
I am almost 25 and have been suffering from intermittent anorexia and bulimia for the past 11 years. Tomorrow, I start my graduate year as a registered nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in SA. I am terrified as I am very much still controlled by my illness but am aware of this and am desperately trying to beat the inner demons and silence the all consuming voice. I fear my career is on the line. Your story has given me much hope in having the ability to lead a normal life while battling my inner-self and one day conquring all I have lost and becoming whole again.
Thank you for being open and honest with your story. It is people like you who inspire sufferers everyday. You have reignited my faith in recovery when I felt like I was drowning. Please keep sharing your story.
Thank you with all my heart.
Knowing the hideous nature of anorexia, I can only be amazed at your strength in surviving and recovering in times when not much was known about the disease and we didn’t have people like yourself to educate and inspire us. I truly appreciate your kindness.
Reviewer: Claire Diffey – Manager, Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED)
There is so much to celebrate and praise about A Girl Called Tim. June’s eloquent and frank story of her life and struggle to overcome her eating disorder, depression and anxiety is compelling reading. She creates the picture so clearly that I felt I was there with her, agonizing as she stumbled and wanting to help her up, cheering as she made steps in progress to recovery.
The central issues June describes of the power of eating disorder with its tyranny that isolates, deceives, creates self doubt and loathing, leaving sufferers feeling unworthy and misunderstood are critical to understanding the battle against eating disorders. Despite her torment, the determination to understand what was happening to her and then confront her illness was powerful, even when June felt it has almost deserted her. The importance of family, her struggles to find her place and acceptance are central to her story. Acceptance and understanding are personified in the way she managed those final years of her parents’ life.
As described by Laura Collins, June provides us with not only a personal journey of discovery, learning and recovery. She also provides the societal and professional history and evolution from ignorance and misunderstanding of eating disorders. Over the last 3 decades there has been increasing research understanding and developments in treatments for anyone at any stage of illness. Thank you to all those involved in this work and to June and her fellow travellers who have helped us all understand, learn and improve treatments.
This is a significant book in providing insights into how early in life and insidiously eating disorders can develop, and the crucial need for early detection and intervention. But even if early intervention and recovery is not available or happen, there is now services and hope for recovery at any time. June champions of the need for support, therapy, and instilling and constantly fanning the sparks of hope.
Thank you June.
Reviewer: Mareike (Germany)
Thank you, I love your book A Girl Called Tim! Many books with this subject, don’t take you in. Your book let me look from the outside and inside. I’m lucky that I found it and able to read it! Thank you so much. I want write about me too. About my travelling and my shadow (in German ;-). Please let your book translate, please share it with more people. Help them to understand! I’m sure it would change the life of two of my friends! I’m sure. Thank you x
Reviewer: Sue (a colleague at Leongatha)
I have just finished your memoirs – I got so involved that I forgot the cup of tea sitting on my bedside table! Had to drink it cold! I have always admired you and my thoughts often wander to you and wonder how you are and what you are up to. My admiration has swelled 10 fold! Sometimes we think things are tough but oh boy what context you give to life. There were parts of your story that I could identify with and see mirrored in my teenage daughter – low self esteem for one and myself, like never really feeling like I am quite good enough. I cannot begin to imagine how you are the person you are after suffering such torment. You are an inspiration.
Reviewer: Anna (who has experience in living with an eating disorder)
Just finished reading your book… you’re such an inspirational pioneer for sufferers everywhere in the Australian public and private health systems. Thank you for your words, they’re so powerful, especially with all the gloomy statistics on ED recovery!
Reviewer: ‘PJ’, on the pathway to full recovery
I read your book recently in an attempt to restart my own anorexia recovery following a recent relapse; and I couldn’t have chosen a more valuable read. By sharing your diary entries in such a candid way I was able to glimpse your years of relentless daily struggles and obsessions – so many of which parallel my own. Your story has helped me to look objectively at the futility of these behaviours and see how they play such a destructive part in my own life – and consequently encouraged me to make changes I thought I was too afraid to make. Your message of hope for total recovery – even for long-term sufferers – means more to me than I can tell you. Thank you. — PJ
Reviewer: Lawrie (life writing class participant)
I have just this minute finished reading A Girl Called Tim. Congratulations, I think you have a winner. I did not find myself ploughing to make myself go on reading. Normally, I would not have even glanced at a book which evidently had a medical theme, because I usually choose romance or adventure. However, I am glad that I took your book up. Even though the print was far too small for me, I could not put it down, (at 80, I usually choose “Large Print” volumes).
Although I experienced many life differences to yours, I could identify with large slices of your story. I was not a country boy, but a townie. I loved the bush, too. As well, although you may not think so from what you see now, I was a very small boy. I wanted to be bigger – the opposite of your problem, because I was repeatedly bullied, especially at boarding school.
Oh yes, psychological repairs can be painfully slow….
Your story was easy to read, and I am sorry you had to endure all that stress to create it. Keep up the good work. You will always be a journalist. I know you have beaten the bugs that plagued you. It shows in your sunshine face. Keep it up.
Reviewer: Rick, age 68. Rick’s partner has experienced anorexia since childhood
I have just finished reading A Girl Called Tim and I congratulate you on your honesty and forthright approach which must have been extremely daunting for you. I am 68 years young and my beautiful lady is 63, she has had anorexia all of her life and to this day is unable to find a health practitioner who even recognises that her anxiety and depressions are as a result of her anorexia. I bought the book for her but I read it from cover to cover from Perth to Lyon in France, via Singapore and Paris. She is French but has a tremendous grasp of English. She hasn’t started to read it yet but she will soon. We are having a tremendously difficult time in creating a lasting relationship, I believe simply because she fears rejection. (Like you) She has copious amounts of notes and diaries which I have suggested she commit to a book. Time will tell. Thank you once again for your wonderful book, it gives me hope for my loved one and my future.
Reviewer: Bernadette (senior woman, with experience of eating disorders)
What is most inspirational and providing me with hope is the fact that the story I am reading of years of eating disorder hell and torment belongs to the same woman that I met at the event when you spoke about ‘Tim’ – yourself, someone who is now so centred and experiencing freedom and living life – it’s such a contrast and shows me that anything can be turned around and that it’s never too late, even when all seems impossible and hopeless. I’m not sure that I believe it for me but it’s a start to see that it can happen. Thank you for sharing your story.
Fighting an eating disorder and coping with a mental illness, requires preparations like a soldier preparing for battle. It requires doing away with ‘keeping up appearances’. East Gippsland News journalist, Jan Burrows, reports on the launch of A Girl Called Tim in Bairnsdale in East Gippsland News Page 3 March 30.
Reviewer: Karen (with experience of an eating disorder and diabetes)
Yesterday I was browsing the new release section of the book store and the words “eating disorder” caught my eye. I am a 38 year old Registered Nurse with a long history of difficulties with food. I have had Type 1 Diabetes for 28 years and from memory have had issues with food and my weight since the age of about 12. Formally, I now have a diagnosis of diabuleamia. This illness is much more recognised in the United States than Australia, where I live, and my hope is for those who suffer from it to seek the help required to live a longer, healthier life. Diabuleamia is a condition where diabetics manipulate and withhold insulin in order to lose weight.
I read A Girl called Tim overnight, unable to put it down. I actually had many tears as I read as it reminded me of the realness, heartache, loneliness and destruction my eating disorder has brought about in my life. I was also reminded of the isolation from close family members that refused to recognise my battles and actually seemed ashamed when I was able to reach out for help. (Something of which I remain so very proud). My health has been very good for the past six months. I am a single mother to three gorgeous children and these angels inspire me.
Since reading your book I am feeling even more inspired to get back on track. I want to help others and inspire as you have done for me. I admire your courage to speak the truth. It is only through people like yourself that the eating disordered world will become demistified. Thankyou for entering my world and reminding me that I am not alone, as I have felt alone for most of the time! Once again I thank you for your book. It will remain with me forever.
Letter from Natasha (with experience of anorexia nervosa)
I read a review of your book A Girl Called Tim that Laura Collins wrote on her blog. From there, I followed the link to your web site, and all I can say is that on a morning such as this, I was grateful to see the word “hope”.
In short, I have had anorexia nervosa since I was 14, but it went undiagnosed until I was 18. I have spent the last 14 years trying to recover in various ways and means. From outpatient therapy to residential treatment, including various visits to the ER, my journey has been defeating. I have had moments of triumph, where I literally tasted and enjoyed the food I was eating, but I always seem to slide back down.
The paragraph on your web site about doing it alone is what resonated with me most. I guess that is where I always fail. My family basically wants nothing to do with me because I’m so chronic (and they think selfish, etc.) and I feel so alone. I plan to read your book as soon as I get a copy. Thanks for writing it and giving me hope.
Reviewer: Anne (with experience of eating disorders)
I heard you on the ABC on Bush Telegraph and subsequently borrowed your book from my local library. I am not a reader but read it in two nights which should indicate to you how good it is. I am now in the process of going back over it again.
I cried a lot during my reading of your story. I too have suffered from this illness during my life and although my story is different in some key respects there are some striking similarities.
My mother was not engaged with me and she herself had an eating disorder and anxieties which she projected onto me and my older sister. She had us on “diets” from an early age and I associated being fat with being unlovable since my memories began in my childhood years. This terrible link was reinforced by my husband who said things like I would look good if I was taller and slimmer!
I am not brave enough to let the world know what I was like and have tremendous respect for you for coming out in a book. Your story touched me greatly especially the struggle with your dieting and disease, but also your relationship with your parents and sister.
I empathise with your engagement with the bush and the solace it provided you, your tremendous love for your children and the fulfillment they provided you, and your perseverance in your study and career – all wonderful aspects of your life.
I too ran the gamut of psychiatrists and psychologists and it is only in the past two years that I have begun to really understand how I tick and certainly the eating thing has gone although I STILL don’t like going out to dinner and have to manage my eating habits more than most people I think. It is still a secret I live with – weighing food and counting out portions. I am 58!
PS: Your love of the farm and the bush are made beautifully tangible in your book. I could almost smell the dust and hear the calves as I read it! So it was shocking to read about the decisions on the farm. But now you have created the loveliest memoir for yourself (and others) without needing a memento. Good on you!
Reviewer: Laura Collins
A travelogue of the history of anorexia
It is time for a longitudinal look at anorexia from the lens of our current knowledge, and June Alexander has done it. To create such a tour, she had to live it – and then reflect on it from a place of both recovery and new science. I am cheering for June. Her book, which I finished last night, brought me through time and two continents. Through anorexia and bulimia as they went from unseen, to misunderstood, and then overcome. What is most amazing to me is June’s ability to re-frame the past with such compassion – when her illness showed her none and often the world around her was unable to show her anything but confusion.
There are heroes here. June herself, first and foremost, but she suffers from neither hubris nor pedantry. She is a hero for being able to take decades of distress and refuse to punish others for their failings – or herself. She celebrates other heroes: her first husband and her four dear children shine through as real, tender, and steadfast. She gives credit to her clinicians, each adding something to her toolkit, each shedding needed light and patience along the way.
Yet the most heartbreakingly beautiful thing about June’s story, as she guides us through it, is that while she tells the truth about how members of her family of origin let her down she also gives it context by the lesson she takes from it all. Instead of condemning families, avenging her loss of support and caring, her message is that parents need help to understand and act. She wishes her family had the opportunity of Family-Based Treatment and retains optimism that even families like hers could have been helped by the early and skilled intervention of the Maudsley approach. That is a compassion that staggers me. Where many would use that birds-eye view to choose villains, June chooses to prevent others suffering the same cruel losses.
I am deeply moved by this, more than anything. I have had the pleasure of spending time with June and appreciate her and her work so very much, but only by travelling with her from early childhood to the present – even brief moments where I was present – do I truly understand the depth of her compassion and optimism. And courage.
“Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.” Amelia Earhart
(With experience of eating disorders)
I have just concluded reading your superb autobiography, A Girl Called Tim.
Of all the books I have perused pertaining to eating disorders, yours is the one I relate to best.
All of my adult life, I have been plagued by the debilitating practice of gorging and purging — incidents of excessive and compulsive overeating, followed by extreme purging, fasting and dieting.
My sense of affinity with your predicament is enhanced by the fact that I was molested when very young. The attack has had an enormous negative impact on my life. I have documented the relevant ‘where to get help’ eating disorder contact details listed in the back of your book, and shall contact them accordingly.
Reviewer: Michellyen Harrington
I read your book in four days. Listening to you at the Sale seminar inspired me to start reading. I hadn’t read a book since my eight-year-old was born. I wanted to let you know that your life is now your own to do as you wish, not controlled by your eating disorder and to live it to the full. You sound like you have absolutely amazing children and you are very lucky for that. Thankyou for letting me share an insight to your life.
Reviewer: Anna Warwick
This story of one woman’s battle with an eating disorder is extraordinarily inspiring, writes Anna Warwick.
This book is hard to put down. Non fiction, it spans half a lifetime of gruelling illness. June, a tomboy farm child becomes a teenage girl who is good at everything, popular and hard working, but sick with anorexia. As June grows into an adult, this ‘girl most likely’ begins to suppress her true nature further and further in a bid to be loved. June Alexander’s young adult life is riddled with a mental illness which causes her to despise herself, yet she accomplishes much.
A wife, mother and career woman, she holds it together, even while binging and starving and on an emotional rollercoaster, until finally breaking down at middle age. When June makes the transition in her identity from rejected daughter to adored parent; her world begins to change and the tight grip of anorexia falls away. June is free to become the international writer she was destined to be, and she begins by writing about eating disorders. I wanted this book to keep going and explore the extraordinarily positive story of June Alexander today, but what it reveals so clearly is the inner world of the mental illness sufferer and how it feels to appear normal and yet be unable to live a normal life, with all the stigma and judgement that is attached. June never gave in to her illness, she fought it every day for 21 years of her life and she won. She lived. This is an inspiring story.
(Living with an eating disorder)
Hi June, I just read your article in a support newsletter. I’m so encouraged by your story. I’m 54 and have battled an eating disorder since 14. I’m often discouraged and feel recovery is beyond me. I don’t feel quite so alone and hopeless having just read your words. Thank you.
Reviewer: Graeme Brazenor
Loved your book. Such a courageous person.
(Recovering from an eating disorder)
I am blown away by A Girl Called Tim, I feel a sense of understanding … I don’t feel so alone – this 10-11 year “battle” I’m going through seems liked nobody could understand and now as I read your words I feel hope. Ok, so both our stories are quite different yet at the same time I feel a renewed spark of life, that little voice in the back of my head telling me to keep going. Thankyou for your honesty and words – I “met” you a few years ago at an inspirational evening for The Oak House and saw you a couple of times at The Oak House coming down those stairs and I know in my head I knew that this woman (you) was a light in the dark of this disorder, and I am so glad to see this amazing treasure of a book and to read it; each page turned and each word there brings with it such a sense of both light and dark moments, that we truly are all only human and that that is ok.
Reviewer: Susan Ringwood, Chief Executive
June, your book arrived this morning, I started reading after lunch, and six hours later put it down, the last page turned. I KNOW your story, your courage and determination will be an inspiration and motivation to so many other people as they seek their own recovery.
Reviewer: Richard Lester
(Friend) June Alexander tells an extraordinarily personal story of her tragic, confused self identity and helplessness as a child in A Girl Called Tim.
Like much mental illness, the seeds of doubt are sown early, and family secrets are compounded as compulsive patterns of self denial, guilt, depression and ill health take hold.
June’s story begins on the Alexander family farm, nestled in the beautiful Mitchell River Valley, in East Gippsland. This is a seemingly idyllic environment in which to raise a young family, but in time June begins to feel estranged from the family and community around her.
Much of rural family life is an endless and exhausting battle to ‘make do’. June’s parents, like many others, worked to exhaustion, too tired and distracted for a balanced life and the special needs of at least one of their children.
June’s developing obsessive eating disorder was not diagnosed or treated as she entered the strange world of puberty. The girl called ‘Tim’ when she was good, and ‘Toby’ when she was bad, was being overwhelmed by confusion and lack of self identity.
The free and adventurous days of a tomboy were slipping away. June wasn’t ready to be a girl. To achieve approval and self esteem June, at an early age, took on her parents’ magnificent obsession of hard work.
Her escape and solitude were her walks, often along the Mitchell River to Lambert’s Flat, where she felt a sense of freedom and creativity in nature.
Working, walking and writing became the positive motivation to balance the dark side of eating disorder thoughts and behaviours. June graphically describes the darkness, a compelling and confronting daily struggle. This intimate insight into tormented life is drawn directly from diaries kept since age 12.
Good girl Tim or bad girl Toby, June felt that negative, strange voices ruled her life. Despite feeling increasingly confused and isolated, she began work as a journalist at Bairnsdale, married childhood sweetheart George, had a near fatal car accident and started a family of four children.
June and George’s dreams of a rural life were never realised. The hard rural slog, poor returns and old family secrets made the couple determined to make a fresh start in Melbourne. Remarkably, throughout June’s illness, she found purpose and meaningfulness in her journalism career, particularly at Melbourne-based Herald and Weekly Times. And fortunately, her immediate family and friends have had the compassion and strength of character to endure the many chaotic experiences and years of her illness.
With the invaluable understanding of Professor Graham Burrows and others, there came a more professional and compassionate attitude and treatment of anorexia, bulimia and mental illness. Those close by June were able to better understand the scarred emotional journey that they travelled with her, and they remain her primary support group.
Sadly, June’s parents died in recent years before divisive family secrets were reconciled. Because of this a cloud remains over beautiful ‘Weeroona’, the Alexander family farm. While June is determined and empowered to move on with her fortunate life, a special part of her spirit lingers beside the Mitchell River. Her parents’ passing and the grieving process has contributed to the rekindling of much of June’s self respect and life purpose.
I met June Alexander in my plant nursery at Leongatha in 2005. By this time June, with support from her health professionals, was determined to make a fresh and positive start as Editor of The Great Southern Star.
She had purchased a pretty, secluded farmlet, and needed help to maintain and expand her large garden. Friendship developed, arising out of shared interest and mutual support. We shared meals, a glass of wine and walked along the Great Southern Rail Trail. I am grateful for this friendship which has been enriching in a mysterious and meaningful way.
In 2007, June was on the move again, feeling ready for the biggest and most important challenge of her life: to come out of the darkness of her illness, stand her ground and go public to raise awareness of mental illness. She was ready to climb her literary Everest.
At Clifton Springs, June feels strong, has her garden and her pets and good friends and family. A great spring board to tackle her next challenge in her life.
What a brave and remarkable story of love, resilience, courage and hope.
Reviewer: Nikki Davis (Reading public)
It must have taken a lot of courage to write this book. I couldn’t put it down. Mental health, physical ailments, family disharmony and secrets are such deeply personal subjects. Written clearly and with absolute honesty, I was totally absorbed by June’s story. Her eating disorder is a relentless thread throughout her long journey towards what is ultimately a positive and powerful recognition of her own inner resources. This book offers many insights into an illness that clearly looms large, but through it all, June shines through as warm, generous and highly talented.
Reviewer: Judy Traill
I have just finished reading your wonderful book; it took all of yesterday but I had no intention of doing anything else until I had finished. Your book brought back wonderful memories of my own childhood on the family farm, it was such a wonderful time and we did exactly what you were doing; you and I are the same age, but your life touched me deeply, your torment and fear that you lived with while still on the farm is just unimaginable, with your long battle with mental illness. And all through this time you raised your children and excelled at work — your achievements are outstanding.
Your book is a wonderful snapshot of life on a farm and also a very heroic in depth look at mental illness and the devastatingeffect that it has had you and your family. Many congratulations on a powerful and moving account of your life, it must have taken much courage to put it into a book.
Thank you for an extraordinary read of your book A Girl Called Tim. I bought the book and read it in two days. It is the only book ever I have read so fast and delved into every detail that you were describing. … I felt really sad for you that your mother used to call you Tim, and Toby when she was cross. I could not understand why she just didn’t call you June. To me right from the start it sounds like you were living like a boy. And it sounded like you were being that son for approval because that’s how you were identified.
… While family is not to blame for having an eating disorder, I believe family can contribute in some cases to the disorder and I think your family did contribute to it. You sound like a beautiful woman who was just not pointed in the right direction from the start and I commend your strength to keep healing. I cried when I read your letter in the book to your children.
Reviewer: Hazel Edwards
(Australian author — www.hazeledwards.com)
Not Just Another Memoir:
Memoirs are in fashion. But A Girl Called Tim is very different from the in-vogue ‘misery memoirs’. This well crafted autobiography offers hope, humour and strategies as well as insight into obsessive behaviours.
Former Weekly Times journalist and Miranda columnist, June Alexander is a competent writer familiar with rural, newspaper and farm issues. A keen observer, her portrayal of rural Gippsland of the period of her youth is deftly sketched and indicates how hard the farming families worked.
But it is the handling of living with an ‘eating disorder’ from age 11, and the candid analysis of anorexia nervosa, bulimia and food obsession as a means of control, via her crafted diaries that makes this genuine autobiography a ‘must-read’. You are ‘there’. June’s writing skills enabled her to survive as an international exchange student, journalist, editor and columnist as well as the mother of four, and she now has a productive and fulfilling life, despite years of ED. ED means eating disorder, an unfamiliar abbreviation for many, but this book is not full of jargon.
I am in Sixth Grade at school and I am developing anorexia nervosa. Mum and Dad are worried sick about me. They think I won’t make it to my 12th birthday. No one understands me. I don’t understand, either. I only know that I have to lose weight. I am too scared to eat. Food makes me anxious.
Powerful thoughts drive me to eat less and exercise more every day. It is like something has taken over my brain, telling me what to do, and punishing me if I disobey.
If in reading this you recognize yourself or someone you love – keep reading. Even though I got worse: much, much worse, I want you to know that I got better ….
The leggy cover figure suggests a young girl, but eating disorders can be a lifelong challenge for some adults and why this memoir could be invaluable for mental health professionals and families seeking reassurance. That’s where the photographs of the author at various ages are important in this book.
The symbolic chapter written to grand-daughter Olivia Rose offers hope for future youth. So do the dot point strategies.
An individual story, well told, with personal anecdotes to which the reader can relate is more effective than statistics. But it takes courage to reveal incidents or attitudes which others may consider weaknesses. And this is a strength of A Girl called Timenabling you to enter ‘that’ viewpoint and that world for the length of the book and maybe, beyond.
The dance scene in the country hall is real. So is the catering with cakes, scones and local hospitality. Keeping up appearances mattered. The importance of family support as part of the later therapy is also stressed. Within her family, June was affectionately known as ‘Tim’ when she was being helpful or conforming to expectations.
The title A Girl Called Tim indicates the tomboyish desire for acceptance of a youthful, boy-like body and roles, and restricting food as a form of control, but the sub-title indicates the mature acceptance.
The Appendices offer advice and links for parents, families and professionals.
A valuable extra resource is the author’s website, with articles, tips and links to related blogs, organisations and international professionals.
Alexander’s earlier book My Kid is Back: Empowering Parents to beat Anorexia co-written with Professor Daniel Le Grange, explains how family-based treatment can greatly reduce the severity of anorexia nervosa in children and adolescents, allowing the sufferer to return to normal eating patterns, and their families to return to normal family life.
A Girl Called Tim is MORE than just another memoir. It takes courage to honestly reveal the gap between the ideal and the reality and raise awareness of the importance of family involvement and support in the treatment of eating disorders.
Highly recommended as a gift for young girls, their families, and those who do NOT have eating disorders but who can vicariously enjoy the quest of a courageous woman. ‘Mental Health’ is a turn-off label for some readers, but this book is about more than problems, it offers solutions.
‘Memoirs’ are only selections of a life. In the autobiography A Girl Called Tim: Escape from an Eating Disorder Hell, ‘escape’ can be read as a ‘to-do’ verb.
Reviewer: Jane Ross
(Friend and Journalist)
June Alexander is my dear friend but I read her book A Girl Called Tim with a fellow writer’s critical eye.
She has managed to tell the story of her excruciatingly difficult life with warmth, humor and pathos.That she has recovered from her illness is remarkable.That she has been prepared to share her story with the world is testament to the importance she places on encouraging those with dark secrets to keep reaching out until they find the right help.June has come in to the light, which is where she belongs.I salute her courage and her fine author’s skill.
Read A Girl Called Tim – any preconceived notions you might have about mental illness will be changed forever.
Reviewer: Helen ‘Eddy’
(Friend since childhood and Retired school principal)
Launched much the same time as Cyclone Yasi hit Australian shores, this memoir of a country girl’s life-struggle with mental illness portrays chaos and turmoil on a similar grand scale. Beginning in 1950 Gippsland, it whirls often out of control, from one home to another, one new start to another, from one relationship to another, through deep depressions, and black holes of fear and anxiety, fuelled by family misunderstanding and communication breakdowns, it takes the reader on a frantic search for calm. Bravely and honestly gathered from daily personal diaries, it is written with compassion and love, and is also an historical and cultural portrait, with its taboos of the time, that no doubt block much needed family understanding and makes the battle so painful. Long may peace now reign.
Reviewer: Steve Cooper
(Author and journalist)
June Alexander’s book, A Girl Called Tim, is an astonishing record of a long battle with mental illness. There is sex and drugs, but not the sensational tabloid kind. This book is so profound readers will find themselves shaking their heads and wondering: is this true? The answer is ‘yes’. As you read A Girl Called Tim you will come to realise that here is a woman with unswerving determination to find answers and solutions. The energy of her life flows through the ink that stamps every carefully chosen word on every page. The words come from diaries kept since age 11. Almost half a century later, A Girl Called Tim is a result of that dedication to keeping a journal and writing down the events of each day, including thoughts, heartbreaks and fears.
A Girl Called Tim will make you laugh and cry. Fast paced and easy to read, it will play on your senses like no other book you have read. It is a survival guide in a world that many others don’t understand and when you finish reading the last page you will ask: Is this true? And, again, the answer is ‘yes’.
My Kid Is Back
Learn how family-based treatment can greatly reduce the effect of anorexia nervosa in children and adolescents. Beat (beating eating disorders) in the UK and around the world.
Read why every family needs a copy in Get Smart Kids
Reviewer: Laurie Burgess (age 80)
Although it might surprise you, I took My Kid is Back from the library and read it. I fully expected to be ploughing through a technical treatise on an unfamiliar subject, however, I did not struggle at all. I knew nobody who had anorexia, with one exception. I lived along with Chloe and the others as if I did know them.
Thank you for giving us something that is sure to help people, and I am sure it would not have been as good if you had not been the exception.
Compulsory reading for all doctors- I told my doctor about it.
Reviewer: Laura Collins
(Executive Director of F.E.A.S.T. (www.feast-ed.org), Laura Collins became an activist for improved eating disorder treatment after her daughter’s recovery from anorexia. Author of Eating With Your Anorexic (McGraw Hill), she is vice-chair of the Eating Disorders Coalition’s FAC, is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders, and an ANAD resource person.)
The book I want you to read first (not mine)
Imagine this: A book to clearly describe the history and concepts of the Family-Based Maudsley Approach.
- A book with a range of real, detailed, and telling family stories.
- A book that is accessible, well-written and focused.
- A book that does not shy away from the very hard and frightening issues, yet isn’t scary.
- A book free of the myths of the past.
- A book with no agenda or dogma.
- An indictment of poor treatment seen in contrast to the incredible potential of good treatment.
- A celebration of effective clinicians and loving families.
- A work of optimism and belief in the concept of family.
That book is now available around the world. June Alexander has written the book I would like to see any family facing this illness given on the first day of diagnosis. My Kid is Back is a dream come true.
Maudsley Parents Review – on Eating Disorder Foundation of Victoria website
My Kid Is Back is helping families and friends understand what happens when a child develops anorexia.