Thin, and I

A Memoir

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
260 Pages
Reviewed on 07/07/2018
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Author Biography

I had the idea to write a memoir based on my experiences ever since I was a teenager. I knew I wanted to discuss mental health in a positive light, to show that having an eating disorder or depression is not a death sentence.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Thin, and I: A Memoir is written by Andrijka O. Keller. Keller was fifteen years old when her parents and the school nurse decided that she should go into a rehabilitation program. Her grades were above normal, and her attitudes about school were just fine. Keller, however, was one of the millions of Americans who had an eating disorder. Her father’s discomfort at the idea of a rehab stint was apparent; somehow he had personally failed by producing a daughter who was bulimic. Her mom was supportive but worried. Keller knew she had it all under control. She had successfully lost the weight that had tormented her in grammar school. Being tall and weighing 200 pounds, combined with the braces and thick glasses, meant her fourth-grade self was a prime target for bullies and other mean kids. Even the teachers seemed to overlook her in favor of the pretty girls and the athletic superstars. So Keller made friends with ED, her eating disorder, whom she visualized as a debonair man of business complete with Armani suit and Hermes briefcase. He was her coach, her motivation, her cheering squad. Rehab? ED whispered that they were out to destroy their relationship, but Keller was quite sure they could hold firm against any and all forces.

Andrijka O. Keller’s Thin, and I: A Memoir is an eloquent and moving account of the author’s teen years battling an eating disorder and a medical institution determined to keep her on a cocktail of mind-numbing prescription drugs. Keller’s story is a riveting one. Her descriptions of her time spent in rehab are fascinating, as are the stories she tells about the other patients who came to be her family while she was in treatment. I was stunned and horrified to read about the easy and standard diagnosis of depression she was given and the constant push of her doctors to have her take an increasing number of drugs, and I applauded her decision to protect herself in response. Keller’s a superb writer; one who took a story that could possibly have a limited audience and made it into a memoir with broad appeal. Her writing style is conversational, and her gift for seeing past the persona and perceiving the real people she shares with her readers is impressive indeed. Anyone who’s had food issues will undoubtedly benefit from reading this work, as well as anyone who’s been on the receiving end of the magical potions prescribed by Big Pharma, and the doctors who support it. Thin, and I: A Memoir is most highly recommended.

Joel R. Dennstedt

Sometimes, demons might wear suits. In Andrijka Keller’s rawly candid memoir of her necessarily tension-fraught teenage years, her personal companion is such a cultured fellow. Named ED. Who first supports her great desire to be thin, then encourages and applauds all of her persistent efforts, and finally demands that Andrijka purge herself of any contrary inclinations. Automatically declared abnormal by the adult arrogance she encounters, Andrijka’s personal guide to maturity is this personified aberration, who still manages to make the most cogently thoughtful observation of the book: “I’m trying to tell you that as society changes, what classifies as a mental disorder changes with it!” Those classifications have become so numerous, one might well ask: What is your disorder? Or, as Ms. Keller asks right from the start: Who are you?

The defining feature of Andrijka Keller’s book Thin, and I, as distinctly different from other supposedly confessional memoirs, is her adamant ownership of two conflicting self-perceptions. She accepts herself for who she is. She wonders constantly what is wrong with her. But Ms. Keller is acutely self-aware and brilliant as a writer, and her book – a massively compelling, assertively “diaretic” journal – recognizes the surest danger overlooked in life: the power of the “other” to control one’s self-perception, and the irrefutably bad consequences of surrendering to such power. ED makes only an ambivalent villain in this piece. The true demons are those arrogant adults who diagnose abnormality as disease, proceed to prescribe for it oblivion, and then applaud the vegetable that results. Better, maybe not, the demon that you know.

Roksolana Luciw

Excellent read...