Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother's Life with a Daughter's by Clare B. Dunkle

By Clare B. Dunkle

As heard on NPR's Diane Rehm Show!
Clare Dunkle looked as if it would have a terrific life—two attractive, high-achieving teenage daughters, a loving husband, and a delightful and profitable occupation as a kid's e-book novelist. yet it is should you enable down your safeguard that the ax falls. simply after one daughter effectively conquered her melancholy, one other daughter constructed a life-threatening consuming illness. Co-published with Elena Vanishing, the memoir of her daughter, this is often the story—told in courageous, fantastically written, and unflinchingly sincere prose—of one family's struggle opposed to an epidemic, from a frequently overlooked yet very important standpoint: the mummy of the anorexic.

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I realized that I must be the only manager in the library who spent half her break time staring at a blank wall. Through careful attention, I slowly learned to conquer my imagination. It was like stopping any bad habit—like getting a handle on nailbiting. I would catch my mind as soon it started to wander, as soon as I saw those first few seconds of new film. Then I would stamp a neon-green X over the image. But now, as I sat on the sofa in my empty house and drank my cup of coffee, that mischievous imagination crept up on me unawares.

I faltered, cut to the quick by her reaction, “I was just trying to see if you had a fever . ” She clattered up the stairs. I turned back to the door. Valerie was standing there, looking at me with something like sympathy. ” “I don’t know. I thought maybe she’d had a fight with Mona. ” Valerie stayed in the kitchen with me while I prepared dinner. Freed from her little sister’s glowering presence, she loosened up and shared her thoughts about the new school year. Valerie’s all right, I thought to myself while we chatted.

The rich, lively voice I had heard on the phone belonged to a tall nun in long black robes. Sister greeted us in her office, where an enormous fuzzy cat snoozed on her desk, stretched on his back with all four paws in the air. Next, Sister and her head housemother took us on a tour of the school, talking in a halting mix of English and German. Curious girls stared at us from doorways and windows. Valerie and Elena stared back. Then it was time to say good-bye. Valerie and Elena were too stiff to hug me.

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