Review of Malnourished

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A MEMOIR OF SISTERHOOD AND HUNGER

Raised Voice Press sent me a complimentary copy of Cinthia Ritchie’s memoir,Malnourished A Memoir of Sisterhood and Hunger, with a request to write a review. I’d recommend this book, especially if you enjoy reading memoirs. I was intrigued as soon as I began reading.

The author weaves an emotional story about the relationship between a family of four sisters. Written in a lyrical style of vignettes, Ritchie opens her account by telling readers that Deena, one of her sisters, has been dead for years. However, the book focuses on Ritchie’s journey of her and her sister’s survival from their stepfather’s sexual abuse. The story draws readers in from the first pages as Ritchie processes her and her sisters’ complicated past and the lifelong scars from the childhood abuse that led to Deena’s death. Ritchie writes with raw, emotional honesty in her prose, and I appreciated the lyrical movement of the story. Ritchie kept this reader intrigued in the scenes where she admits to lying, her relationship to food, sex, and the need for attention. The scenes that described her eating disorder included pica, and the author shows this in a way that seems to make perfect sense as Ritchie casually sucks on rocks, ingests dirt, and even eats her sister’s cremated ashes. Ritchie’s openness, even juxtaposed in this way, kept me riveted to her story. Although Ritchie’s experience growing up on a Pennsylvania farm is vastly different than my childhood, growing up in a suburb in Miami, the thing that resonated after I finished Ritchie’s book was the narrative we each have, the one we tell ourselves about our past.

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