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Review by Suze
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth had one goal, becoming a size zero. She achieved this in a rapid pace by restricting her food intake and because of this she developed an eating disorder. That's why she's being sent to Wallingfield, a psychiatric treatment center. There they force her to eat healthily again, so she'll gain weight and they're trying to teach her how to stay well when she goes back home again. Elizabeth doesn't want to put on weight and she can't wait to go home, so she can go back to her old ways. In Wallingfield they're trying to discover why she's trying to lose so much weight. Elizabeth's home situation is far from ideal and only adds to the disorder, will she manage to get better despite this?
In Wallingfield Elizabeth makes new friends. She doesn't have to fight her battle on her own, there are other girls just like her. She isn't alone and that makes staying there easier to bear. The girls at Wallingfield are allowed to receive mail and Elizabeth gets several packages from an anonymous sender. Who's behind these packages, is it her ex-boyfriend? Is someone trying to cheer her up or do the packages have a different meaning and will they help Elizabeth with her recovery?
What I Lost is a beautiful moving story. Elizabeth struggles with her weight and her home situation. She's lost forty pounds and has no energy left. Being forced to eat is hard for her, but she's trying and meanwhile she's also being there for her friends at Wallingfield. Elizabeth has a wonderful sweet personality. She's a lovely girl and reading about her motivations to start losing weight and their result made me tear up. Alexandra Ballard describes her feelings in such a clear way that it was like I was looking through Elizabeth's eyes, which was very impressive.
Alexandra Ballard writes about what it's like to have an eating disorder in a raw and honest way. She writes about the loathing, the sickness, the fear to gain weight and the problems that arise because of poor self-image in a descriptive way that gave me a better understanding of the disease. Her writing has an easy flow and that made it possible for me to completely focus on the story itself. Elizabeth's situation is complex and thought-provoking. I liked that because of the packages there was also lightness between the difficulties and sadness. It gives the story a good balance. What I Lost is an amazing book, it's a story that deeply affected me.
What I Lost is an impressive story about a difficult topic, keep that in mind before you start reading. I highly recommend this book to both young adults and adults.