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The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting: The Tragedy and The Glory of Growing Up (A Memoir)
For those of you that haven’t read, a couple, or any of the Harry Potter series (ME, THREE TIMES OVER!) or watched any of the movies (WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?) I am positive that you have at least some semblances of the plot and can identify a couple of the characters. Harry Potter took the world by storm, transporting young (and old!) readers to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where they were enchanted, mystified, and in utter rapture with all that this magical world had to offer. One of those readers was a young Evanna Lynch, and for those of you familiar with the series, you’ll know Evanna eventually went on to become the ethereal Luna Lovegood.
Evanna achieved incredible stardom, becoming an idol to millions who felt as special a connection to the character of Luna as Evanna did. When actors embody a beloved character on screen, we (being the audience) often make assumptions about their life and that everything in it must be perfect. But – celebrity does not equate to happiness, and fame does not bring perfection. Evanna’s gripping memoir hits the reader with these hard and important truths in a stunningly articulate, heartbreaking, and hopeful account of her very personal, very real, and very raw battle with anorexia.
In the way that those outside of the celebrity sphere make assumptions and judgements of what it’s like to live within it, Evanna’s memoir should be required reading material for those who don’t reside on the eating disorder spectrum and are unfamiliar with what it’s like to suffer from. If nothing else, Evanna’s memoir is an incredible resource for those who are unaware, and at times ignorant, of what it’s like to be in the grips of anorexia’s ironclad grasp. A grasp so destructive, so manipulative, yet at times so comforting, so familiar. The dichotomy between the suffering and salvation EDs shape shift between is profound and startling, never to be disrespected.
The cultural narrative surrounding eating disorders has made substantial progress since Evanna was in the throes of her battle with anorexia, but we still have a long way to go as a collective in dismantling the toxicity associated with EDs and those who suffer from them. Evanna’s book is so important and so profound in its ability to seamlessly transport the reader to the mind of a young girl, a mind that may be so foreign yet feel so familiar all at once. Evanna’s vulnerability and candor allows the reader to get intimate with the flame of anorexia, a flame that flickers and dances for so many. The most important part of Evanna’s memoir, however, is in bringing the reader close to the flame, discomfort ensues. A discomfort that is so important in challenging and addressing our own beliefs and assumptions about those who suffer and why, the strength and struggle it takes to recover, and what it means to keep searching for the light when all one sees, feels, and hears is darkness.
I give this book four butterbeers out of four!