Delicate Review

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About the Book

Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls, Girl in Pieces and Girl, Interrupted will love this Amazon bestseller.

Lydia Baker fights a war every day.

A war with herself.A war with food.

At 90 pounds she still feels fat. She still doesn’t feel like a size zero. Lydia can see things that no one else can see. When she looks in the mirror she can see the fat hanging off of her body. The treatment hasn’t helped her. No doctor has been able to give her a magic pill to cure her or to get rid of the thoughts in her head.

She was trapped inside her mind. Lydia doesn’t see food as food. She only sees the calories and the numbers. Counting and starving and purging is all that she does.

When she eats too much she cuts herself to let the pain leak out. Every day means fewer calories, but it also means another scar to help strengthen her determination and to harden her heart just a little more.

Lydia has to be the skinniest of them all, and she’ll hurt herself and her family any way possible to wear the skinny crown. The less she ate, the stronger she felt. The less she ate, the more she was in control. But Lydia was playing a dangerous game and risking it all to be thin, to be perfect.

Book Blurb: What I wanted to say in Group, what I want to say to Mom and Dad was that it was simple. I am not extraordinary, I am not special, my case, my illness is not something that is rare. It is common as I have learned from Group.

When I was growing up I was average, I played outside, I read books, and I wanted a pony even though I knew it wouldn’t fit in our apartment. I wore band –shirts and short-shorts, I munched on cookies and snacks whenever I wanted without any worry. I had expectations pushed on me, get straight A’s keep your room clean, study and you will achieve, and I did want to. I wanted to be great at something, anything.

How did I get here? It was any number of things, stress, my parents fighting, my personal failures, isolating, I don’t know. There is no one thing that I can point to, it’s all fuzzy. How do you explain how one minute you’re able to eat anything and everything you like and the next minute you’re doing crunches on an empty stomach because you haven’t eaten for three days until you suddenly did and then you shoved your fingers down your throat until it feels like your going to rip it out and you throw up so hard it feels like your eyeball is going to come out? Every time I meet with Megan, every time I see Dad or talk with Mom it’s that same question.

How did it start? How did it happen? How could this happen I pick at my sweater, I fiddle with my buttons, I chew on my lip and stay quiet. I have nothing to say. It took me months to realize when I was so hungry and hunched in on myself looking at the pasta boiling on the stove that once I had started, not just the starving but the purging I couldn’t stop. I had to keep going. If I didn’t it felt like the world might end as extreme as that sounds, I would rather starve, freeze, grow fur, suffer through headaches and gross mouth sores, and the awful pounding of my heart in my chest than eat.
I was hungry but I couldn’t eat.

A gritty provocative debut that explores the horrors of an eating disorder and self-harm, and the power of recovery. Gemma Donoghue has written a gritty, raw, and real portrait of one girl’s journey through mental illness and despair as she tried to put the pieces of herself back together.

Gemma Donoghue is the author of Talk, Good Enough, and Fragile.


If you read a book by Gemma Donoghue she’s going to make you feel some things. Every book lays bare some very difficult topics that you don’t often see. And Delicate is no different, forcing us to take an up close look at what it is like to live with an eating disorder. At a time where we are constantly celebrating body positivity, I think that it is so important for stories and voices like these to be shared. Opening up that conversation and shedding light on what many go through.

I know it may sound weird of me to say, but I really appreciate seeing books about eating disorders. I think that this is a topic we swept under the rug so much, and even still do, that it became taboo to admit to suffering from an eating disorder yet almost celebrated to to have one. So I love seeing books that aren’t afraid to normalize the pain associated with eating disorders. I think we need to start having more honest conversations about what an eating disorder actually does to you physically and mentally. They aren’t something pretty and they are a daily struggle.

I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read from Donoghue, she has such an open and honest way of writing. Everything she writes is raw and honest, opening your eyes to things that society would rather you not see or talk about.

About the Author

Gemma Donoghue is a first-time self-publishing author, and a lover of anything that involves horror, mystery, and romance.

*I received an e-copy in exchange for an honest review*

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