We in YouthSpin have previously let you know about Young Adult books that we think tackle important issues. As this week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week for 2017 we thought we’d double up and let you know about Irish YA book ‘Nothing Tastes As Good’ by Claire Hennessy.
We also share some facts and figures we found on the website of the excellent Bodywhys organisation. This is an important and complex issue, and this blog posts barely scratches the surface of the issue, and is intended as a pointer towards more specialised information sources.
‘Nothing tastes As Good’ is an Irish novel by an Irish author. You might recognise the title as the first half of a famous quote by Kate Moss. The full is quote is that, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
The narrator in Claire Hennessy’s book is Annabel. Annabel is dead. She has been given an ‘afterlife’ task of being a sort of Guardian Angel for Julie, who Annabel kind of knows from school. However, Annabel died from Anorexia, and she sees her job as having to make a fat girl thin.
Throughout the book we explore the world of eating disorders in different forms. It is intense, funny, sad, and engaging. Its not a lecture. It is a story told so well. You will probably feel quite angry in parts, and find your inner reading voice shouting at one or other of the different characters. It may upset you, it will make you laugh too though. The author does not talk down to her readers and most of all you will feel challenged.
I’m underselling the book. Its not ‘just’ about Eating Disorders. There is a lot more in there to engage the reader. Its definitely one of the best Young Adult books to be published in Ireland (and beyond) in 2016.
We recommend this book for young people and for adults alike.
- Up to 200,000 people in Ireland may be affected by eating disorders.
- An estimated 400 new cases emerge each year, representing 80 deaths annually.
- Almost 14% of all admissions for under 18s to Irish psychiatric units and hospitals had a primary diagnosis of eating disorders.
- Females accounted for 93% of all admissions of those affected by eating disorders.
- 77% of Irish adolescents ranked body image as being important to them.
- 57% of the young people surveyed expressed some level of satisfaction with their body image, which means 43% were dissatisfied.
Negative body image is considerably more prevalent among girls than boys.
When asked about what influences their body image, comparison with others ranks as the most negative influence on girls’ body image and bullying as the most negative influence on boys’ body image.
71.4% of Irish adolescents feel adversely affected by media portrayal of body weight and shape, with more than a quarter (25.6%) believing it to be far too thin. McNicholas et al. (2009)
Self-image was identified as the number one factor that ‘hurts’ the mental health of Irish teens. Teenage Mental Health: What Helps and What Hurts. Department of Children and Youth Affairs (2009
According to a 2007 study of Irish children and adolescents, 1.2% of Irish girls may be at risk of developing anorexia nervosa, with 2% at risk of developing bulimia nervosa. Source: McNicholas, F. (2007) Eating Problems in Children and Adolescents.
The Bodywhys Website address is http://www.bodywhys.ie
Please visit for more information about eating disorders, what they are, their causes, and importantly for ways to access support.
The Seechange website address is http://www.seechange.ie
Seechange aim to reduce stigma and change attitudes towards people with mental health problems.