The Time In Between by Nancy Tucker
Review by Jill
For me, health memoirs go one of two ways: they are either so fantastic you imagine living the life of the author, or they are dreary, self- indulgent journals that have very little plot. This is the former.
Nancy Tucker allows us into the messy world of an eating disorder where the insistent voice whispering to her ever-decreasing frame reminds us that unless we’ve lived with someone who has struggled with one, or we have faced that struggle ourselves, it is a very lonely existence.
Nancy- the academic, the dancer, the writer- withers through her teenage years, revelling in the silent pain. Unlike other memoirs, she very rarely gives us her thoughts on why she succumbed, instead using the very questions we want to ask her as a plot device. Nothing was enough: starving was not enough, A grades were not enough, friendships caused the worry of eating.
Throughout the stunningly written narrative, Nancy both intrigues and appals us, making us cringe as she tells her mother yet another lie. The self-depreciation is just enough for us to feel waves of pity, particularly for her mother, who at every juncture reminds Nancy that she is loveable.
Nancy, now at university, refuses to reveal the numbers of the story, something I applaud her for given the ferocity of competitiveness that comes with suffering from anorexia. She suffered without hope for such a number of years, willing the devilish voice to remain with her, that the shining hope towards the end of the book reminds us that the strongest of us are willing to pick ourselves up and fight with determination.
If you only read one memoir this summer, make it this one.