Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi

I haven’t read a memoir in a while, but something about this book caught my attention. Maybe it’s just that I’ve always liked Portia de Rossi (and by always I mean she was great in Better Off Ted and also enjoyable in Arrested Development–I didn’t watch Ally Mcbeal so I can’t comment on that one). I’ve always wondered how anyone could be anorexic (don’t they get hungry!?!?) so having a chance to read de Rossi’s account of her eating disorder (which involved both anorexia and binging and purging) was a welcome opportunity.

De Rossi begins her story around age twelve when she starts working as a model. It’s fascinating how internal her struggle was. In many ways, it was as much if not more so her own pushing that led to her extreme body image issues. Her mother didn’t help and seemed to be more negligent than actually pushy in the matter. Shortly after passing out on a movie set, she went from 82 pounds to 168 in a short span of time.

For the first time I had an idea of how someone could become anorexic and live that way (the answer is yes, they do get hungry). Portia de Rossi holds nothing back. I found myself unable to stop reading. (Only the very end got a little slow, when she was summing up what she had learned and how she resolved things, but even that was interesting because she talked about meeting Ellen and their relationship together.)

This book is a really intense but extremely fascinating look at the pressures of Hollywood, body image, and homophobia. It’s definitely a book worth reading if you’re interested in any of these topics.


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