Comments from readers, authors, reviewers:
– Edeet Ravel, Author of Your Sad Eyes and Unforgettable Mouth, Ten Thousand Lovers, A Wall of Light, Look for Me endorsed the book: “In this intelligent, sensitive and candid portrayal of ‘the land of thin’, Lisa de Nikolits shows us how the commodification of the female body in the market culture can become a pernicious force, imprisoning young women in a terrifying cycle of self-negation.”
– Doug O'Neil of Canadian Living magazine said: “Eleven calories more a day can kick one overboard into a sea of fat?” Such are the stomach-churning fears that haunt the fat-phobic, food-obsessed women in Lisa de Nikolits’ The Hungry Mirror. Like episodic entries in a food journal, the first-time author’s writing style is stripped down, pointed, raw, bereft of all fat. She cuts straight to the bone and slices open the gut-wrenching hurts of a circle of self-conscious (and mostly self-critical) characters who are obsessed with weight and body image. De Nikolits takes us to the dark side of a Bridget Jones world where cliques of media-savvy women gather round the water cooler – but where real pain is exposed in broad daylight. The pages of Hungry Mirror are a gluttony of references to bulimia, calorie counts, and bingeing, but de Nikolits’ real message is about cravings – cravings for self-acceptance, cravings for love.”
– The Quill & Quire (May issue): "Lisa de Nikolits' first novel is an unconventional treatment of eating disorders, which are often presented in fiction as merely an adolescent phase. De Nikolits shows how such disorders can in fact continue into adulthood. The sufferer appears fully functioning, while in reality their body obsession permeates every facet of their lives.
De Nikolits's beautiful, ambitious narrator subsists on apples and green tea, avoid social situations where there will be buffets, dresses in baggy clothing, and judges her friends and co-workers' physiques, imagining all the while that they're judging hers as well. And perhaps they are: de Nikolits' has embedded the narrative so deeply within her narrator's psyche that it's hard to tell where the neuroses end and the reality begins.
Such close proximity to de Nikolits' unnamed narrator makes The Hungry Mirror an uncomfortable read. Part of this is intentional, and effective – it becomes clear that the narrator is a prisoner of an obsession that exhausts her both physically and mentally.
The Hungry Mirror is stuffed with references to diet trends, tabloid culture, and statistics about eating disorders and body image. Though the novel's conclusion is thoughtful and strong, its narrator is too much of a receptor for these Google-gleaned factoids.
–Kerry Clare, a writer and reviewer in Toronto
– Kristin Jenkins of The Anglican Journal said: "For anyone who has ever wondered why a smart, accomplished woman would starve herself just to feel human, The Hungry Mirror takes an unsentimental look at the lonely world of eating disorders. This gripping tale of fractured self esteem pulls back the curtain on rigid regimens that collapse into chaos over and over again. Played out against a childhood where drastic dieting was a family value, Lisa de Nikolits expertly delivers both sides of a "perfect life" that includes a marriage headed over the cliff and a brilliant but unpredictable career. Fasten your seatbelts, folks: this is a ride on the psychological and emotional rollercoaster that is anorexia and bulimia.
– Reader comments to the book (on the Chapters.ca site):
Who would have thought that the devastating inner workings of an eating disorder could be engaging rather than repellent. de Nikolits, through incredible wit, humour and naked revealment pulls you in like Anna-Marie MacDonald – you feel the main character's pain and obsession. Delighfully laced through the story is a 'Devil Wears Prada' type expose that takes you behind the scenes of the frivolous and flighty world of publishing. Brilliant and impossible to put down!
Through her very engaging and raw inner dialogue the author effectively conveys to the reader the kind of day-to-day struggle someone with an eating disorder wrestles with silently while the rest of the world goes on, oblivious to the intense fears that hover below the surface. While it is a serious commentary on the state of body image today, The Hungry Mirror is also an intriguing portrayal of a smart and funny protagonist. Unlike other novels in this genre that are dark (Skinny) and without hope, de Nikolits shows us someone who is anxious to understand and embrace herself and the strange world around her.
A Must Read!
In this thoroughly captivating, clever and shocking narrative we witness the struggle of one woman with the isolation and self loathing that constitute an eating disorder. Her deepest moments of darkness are illuminated by Lisa de Nikolits' energetic and quirky writing style, which makes this book impossible to put down.
Through a behind-the-scenes look at the magazine publishing world, we are reminded of the way mainstream media has butchered the raw, natural femininity that has been reverenced for thousands of years. Ultimately though, we are reminded of the strength and beauty of a woman's spirit.
In sum, this book is a must read. At the least it will be eye opening, but for some it might be life changing.
Gripping and profound!
From the first page of the first chapter, this book took me in and wouldn't let me go. Every sentence packed a humorous, insightful and frequently devastating punch taking me into a world I didn't know much about and on a journey I won't soon forget. If you're looking to read something beautifully written and telling a story with substance, choose The Hungry Mirror. You won't be disappointed.
The Hungry Mirror is a remarkably authentic account of the struggles associated with eating disorders. Lisa's creative and insightful story is a must read for family members, friends, and individuals recovering from an eating disorder.
–Marilyn Strauch, M.A. (c) OACCPP Psychotherapist
Started reading The Hungry Mirror last night and could not stop. Quite the eye-opener and raw with truths, even for someone who's worked in the industry and seen it all. So real! What an accomplishment.