Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Purge by Sarah Darer Littman

Janie Ryman hates throwing up. So why does she binge eat and then stick her fingers down her throat several times a day? That’s what the doctors and psychiatrists at Golden Slopes hope to help her discover.But first Janie must survive everyday conflicts between the Barfers and the Starvers, attempts by the head psychiatrist to fish painful memories out of her emotional waters, and shifting friendships and alliances among the kids in the ward. In order to get better, Janie must talk about things she's admitted to no one - not even herself.

Marlene: What was your inspiration for this story?

Sarah: My mother was scanning old photos from her albums and she sent me this one (below) from a family vacation when I was fourteen or fifteen.

Looking at it as a woman in my forties, I thought, "Wow, I had a nice figure back then." But it made me sad, because I still remembered how I felt at the time - how I was convinced that I was fat and ugly.

I've suffered from body image problems my entire life, and struggled with bulimia for many years as an adult. I wanted to write a book for the girl I was then, and for the girls - and guys - out there who feel the same way today.

Marlene: Do you remember writing the first words? Are they still the same?

Sarah: I wrote the first words in a writing workshop at Kindling Words, in response to a picture of Ellen Wittlinger's niece in a bridesmaid's dress, taken from the back. From that exercise emerged a character who was unhappy at a wedding, felt uncomfortable with herself and the
clothes she was wearing, and was generally angry at the world. None of those words are in the book, but they got me started, and certain elements of that exercise remain in the finished novel.

Marlene:What kind of research did you have to do for this story?

Sarah: Although I have suffered from bulimia myself, I did a lot of research about eating disorders. I also had an eating disorder professional read the manuscript for accuracy.

Scholastic was terrific about putting a resources section at the back of the book, and we listed the best of the books I read. One book I particularly recommend is The Body Project by Joan Jacobs Brumberg. Brumberg tracks the history of how as a society we've stopped emphasizing the importance of what girls DO and placed more focus on how they LOOK. As the mother of a daughter, this is something I try very hard to fight.

Marlene:What is your favorite line, passage, chapter from this book?

Sarah: I would have to say "The Cucumber Scene". You have to love an emotional breakthrough that revolves around a salad vegetable.

Marlene: Was there any part that you struggled with or avoided writing?

It was hard for me to write any of the scenes that involved the destructive behaviors, such as purging or cutting. Even though I'd been in recovery for five years at the time I was writing the novel, writing about those behaviors brought me back into some very dark and
painful places, and I had to really look after myself during the periods I was writing those scenes.

Marlene:What's on your nightstand right now?

Sarah: Alive and Well in Prague New York by Daphne Grab

Marlene:Besides writing, do you have any other passions?

Sarah: Chocolate! Don't the two always go together? I also love reading, traveling, watching movies, messing around in the garden & cooking. In my "grown up" life I write a political column, which generates lots of interesting hate mail.

Marlene: Have you ever wanted to quit writing? Why?

I wouldn't say I wanted to quit, but I felt extremely discouraged while suffering from an extended period of "second book blues." As idea after idea was turned down for my second book, I wondered if my first book was a fluke and if I would ever be published again. It wasn't until I reconciled myself with the thought that maybe I was just one of those authors who had to write the whole book before she could sell it that I was able to free myself up enough to write the
book I needed to write. Ironically, my agent was then able to sell my third and fourth books on proposal, but in my mind I was convinced that I was an author who might have to write the whole book first.

I can't imagine every wanting to give up writing - it took me so long to finally give myself the permission to do this thing I've wanted to do my whole life, I'm not about to give it up now!

~~~Cafe Note~~ As a regular part of our interviews, featured authors will pop back in for one week after their interview is posted to answer any other questions blog readers may leave for them. So if you have any questions or comments for Sarah, please post them now.


Linda Joy Singleton said...

Great interview! Congrats on PURGE Sarah. Applause and yahoo!

Anonymous said...

I loved CONFESSIONS and look forward to reading PURGE!

Laura Bowers said...

That was a great interview, ladies! Congratulations, Sarah, for both PURGE and the sales of your third and fourth books! You're an inspiration for those with second book blues of their own. ;)

Anonymous said...

Sarah, it sounds like a remarkable and gripping book. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations!

Sarah Darer Littman said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments. And for those going through the "second book blues" - hang in there You *will* get through this!

Anonymous said...

christian louboutin
high heels
womens boots
women's shoes
knee boots
women's boots
black shoes
boots shoes
new shoes
high boots
black boots


manolo blahnik


miu miu

louboutin pumps


shoes spring 2010



jimmy choo
choo shoes

louboutin shoes


louboutin pumps

manolo sale
blanhnik shoes
miu miu shoes

high boots


high boots



pumps shoes


brown shoes


louboutin size shoes
black leather shoes
leather shoes




women's sandals

Anonymous said...; You saved my day again.

Anonymous said...

You have got to see this. Obama playing on XBox. Funniest video ever.

ps jailbreak said...

We are acekard 2i, ps3 key,ps3key Nintendo DS Cards provider. Here we have a great deal of relativeproducts.We even provider4 dsi and r4 dsi games at the most competitive prices - online NDS store!we can provide you the best ps3 key products!
perfect PS3 key jailbreak.

Authentic sheepskin boots,leather boots,best boots online,high heel boots for women,high heel boots,winter boots,leather shoe polish.cgid-Belts,cgid-Handbags,cgid-Socks

Yoyobase said...

iphone conversionkit

iphone 4s conversion kit

iphone 4 conversion kit

aoda yoyo
auldey yoyo
yoyo shop
sound magic
gevey supreme
gevey ultra
apple peel 520
apple peel 520 2nd generation
acekard 2i

Anonymous said...

There are so many value-priced Android tablets out MTK Android Tablet Phone
there that we tend to gloss over them unless there’s something notable to report.
In the case of the Ematic eGlide XL Pro 2, there’s two: the price and the features. JXD S9000

The former is just $219, just a little more than the ICOO D70W Tablet
“reader tablets” already available and considerably less than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (which is a deal in itself).
The latter is that it’s a 10-inch tablet running Android 4.0 out of the box, something we’re always glad to see.
Teclast A15

The eGlide XL Pro 2 (they’ve got the convoluted Window N70
Android naming patterns down alright) features a 1Ghz CPU and 400mhz GPU of unknown origin, and aside from the screen size that’s all we know for hardware.
It appears that the company has entered into an agreement with Kobo for book delivery, but there’s no mention of Google services anywhere – Onda Vi30

this one will require some tinkering to get the Google Play Store on there. Ematic also has its proprietary EDAN voice assistant app pre-loaded.
Teclast P75

The tablet is on sale now at a variety of retailers including Wal-Mart. Onda Vi20w

I’m really hoping that the machine makes an impression. We know that Ice Cream Sandwich can run decently on low-end hardware, thanks to the HTC One V, and a low-cost tablet that doesn’t compromise on screen size could be a very popular alternative to existing $200 models.