Chrysalis Book Reviews
As a counsellor who has an expertise in eating disorders, I have read quite a few memoirs by people who have been in recovery or have recovered from the illness. All have been deeply moving, and at times, challenging, to read. For anyone who has experienced an eating disorder they will likely be able to recount to you that the experience is one that is isolating, heartbreaking and highly mentally and physically compromising. For anyone who has cared for and loved someone with an eating disorder they too will be able to share experiences of fear, frustration and despair.
I recently had the great pleasure of reading another eating disorder journey book; but one that was unlike any I had read before. ‘Chrysalis’: Unravelling Anorexia is written by anorexia survivor Emma Kate Codrington.
A visually moving and stunning hard cover coffee table book, ‘Chrysalis’ is a feast for not only the eyes, but the soul as well. Through a series of whimsical photographs, moving journalling and inspirational text, Emma manages to bring the experience of anorexia to a place that is beyond the written word. One can not only feel, but see, Emma’s descent into the clutches of anorexia via her compelling photographs and then later her bright unveiling into the world of a confident and self believing young woman.
Emma’s photographic talents shine in ‘Chrysalis’ and help transport her reader into a place that so powerfully tells what it is like to be a young woman living with anorexia and the joy of overcoming it.
The thing that I have found most impressive about reading ‘Chrysalis’ is how suitable I consider it to be for any person (including a young person or teen) who is currently struggling with anorexia or any type of eating disorder to read. Emma has managed to find a beautiful balance between explaining the depths of anxiety and depression she was experiencing through her photo’s and words, but in a way that they could never be viewed as sensationalist or triggering. For anyone who knows anything about eating disorders, they know this is often a cause of great concern in an illness where the search for ‘thinspiration’ can often be so strong. It is for this reason that I consider ‘Chrysalis’ to be a suitable book for any person currently in recovery from an eating disorder and indeed, a beautiful gift for them.
With a foreword by leading eating disorder authority Tracey Wade, ‘Chrysalis’ is a landmark eating disorder work. Compelling, heartwrenching, personal, and ultimately, triumphant, ‘Chrysalis’ sits proudly on my coffee table and has been picked up and admired by many people since Emma so kindly gave me a copy to review. I can’t imagine it moving any time soon.
- JULIE PARKER, BEAUTIFUL YOU
COUNSELLOR, COACH, POSITIVE BODY IMAGE ADVOCATE AND MEDIA PERSONALITY
It is my pleasure to write a review of a wonderful new book Chrysalis; unravelling anorexia.
The book explores the different stages of author Emma Kate Codrington’s journey through anorexia including fading to invisible; immersion in darkness; broken; awakening; dancing in the wind; hello world. What I love about this book, and what sets it apart, is that Emma Kate’s story is told through beautiful and breathtaking photography along with personal journal entries.
Emma’s artistic expression is as moving as it is poignant. It reveals the disconnection and sense of silently detaching from reality as anorexia takes hold and goes on to explore the depths of darkness and isolation, turning points and new found freedom – told through a combination of captivating pictures and prose.
I love the way the photos tell a story all of their own, and the words on each page give precious insight into Emma’s thoughts and feelings, which are often dark and a true reflection of the confusion, torture and heartache of living with an eating disorder.
As someone who suffered and recovered from anorexia as a teen, I can relate to Emma Kate’s story. An eating disorder is not a lifestyle choice, nor is it about appearance or the desire to be thin. For me, anorexia was about trying to escape feelings of insignificance and hopelessness that plagued me because I felt as though I wasn’t good enough. It was a way of controlling something, expressing my anxiety and pain, desperately trying to find my place in a world that seemed complex and competitive. The void I felt inside grew as anorexia consumed me. It wasn’t until I realised that everything in my life I had once cared about–relationships I cherished, my academic goals, the beautiful vision for my future – was gone, that I started to hate the anorexia for all it had taken from me. And the fight to recover was hard but in the end I won.
Emma Kate’s transformation from the depths of despair to personal freedom, joy and self-acceptance, captures the essence of what it means to live, to embrace the here and now, to experience life in all it’s forms; beauty, apprehension, happiness and above all, self-love.
Chrysalis represents a deeply personal account of Emma Kate’s story. As someone who speaks openly about my own journey through anorexia to inspire self-love and recovery, I know how hard it can be to share personal struggle. Emma is a courageous and strong young woman whose passion for artistic expression is evident on every page of her book.
I hope Emma Kate’s book inspires others to embrace their truth, celebrate their uniqueness and move forward with faith, hope and love.
- MELINDA HUTCHINGS
AUTHOR AND POSITIVE BODY IMAGE ADVOCATE
Some people say that depression is anger turned inward. We go into the cave of misery to find something missing. This book is a wonderful metaphor for this very experience. Without the depression there is no depth, and so the place where the depression lived becomes filled with love and inspiration. It had to be there for the butterfly to leap off the page.
Emma’s spirit blossomed and what a pleasure it is to see the bloom on the page. She is also an amazing photographer artist. Each page expressing the poetry of her beautiful person. This book, although coffee table, will be a wonderful exploration for sufferers and allies alike.
- GEORGIE WOMOON TURNER
AUTHOR AND ARTIST
Dear Emma, Your book arrived yesterday. Thank you very much for sending us a copy to look at. The book is very beautiful and captures the journey of illness and recovery really well! We want to trial using it with a couple of our older patients. I will continue to pass the book around to the rest of our team. Thanks again!
- COLLEEN ALFORD
SENIOR SOCIAL WORKER, PSYCHOLOGICAL MEDICINE, WESTMEAD HOSPITAL NSW
I have recovered from anorexia and through ACEDA went and saw Emma’s exhibition – it blew me away as it captured so many feelings that I myself went through, it really touched me, so I thought a book of it would be a great gift to myself to remind me of the journey that I’ve been on.
I was walking past Mary Martin Bookshop today and saw your amazing book! I just finished reading it/contemplating it. It’s absolutely beautiful and courageous. I’m still a bit in shock. But absolutely in awe of you and the book. Congratulations.
Have just looked through your book and have cried and smiled. You are a beautiful soul and I look forward to one day introducing you to my brave beautiful daughter.