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The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting: The Tragedy and The Glory of Growing Up (A Memoir)

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A searing memoir from Harry Potter star and activist Evanna Lynch about the bravery it takes to embrace ourselves and our dreams while navigating the battle between perfection and creativity. Gradually, I began to feel this dawning awareness that womanhood was coming for me, that it was looming inevitably, and it didn't feel safe . . . While those around me tried to exp A searing memoir from Harry Potter star and activist Evanna Lynch about the bravery it takes to embrace ourselves and our dreams while navigating the battle between perfection and creativity. Gradually, I began to feel this dawning awareness that womanhood was coming for me, that it was looming inevitably, and it didn't feel safe . . . While those around me tried to expedite it, simulate it, exacerbate it, I tried to strangle it. Evanna Lynch has long been viewed as a role model for people recovering from anorexia, as the story of her casting as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films grew to almost mythic proportions--a tale of how she faced disordered eating as a young girl, found solace in a beloved book series, and several years later landed the part of her favorite character. But that is not the whole story. Even after recovery, there remains a conflict at the very core of her being: a bitter struggle between the familiar, anesthetizing pursuit of perfection and the desire to fully and fearlessly embrace her creativity. In her book, Evanna confronts all the complexities and contradictions within herself and reveals how she began to conquer her self-hate while facing her fear of leaving the neatness and safety of girlhood for the unpredictable journey of being a woman. Revealing a startlingly accomplished voice, Evanna delves into the very heart of a woman's relationship with her own body. Unwilling to let the darkness of her eating disorder eclipse her dreams, Evanna explores the pivotal moments and choices in her life that led her down the path of creativity. Taking the reader through her personal journey, she reveals how by channeling her fears of the messy, uncharted future into joyful, ambitious endeavors, she reaches toward acceptance of the wild, sensual, and unpredictable reality of womanhood. Honest, electrifying, and inspiring, this is a story of the tragedy and the glory of growing up, of mourning girlhood and stepping into the unknown, and how that act of courage is the most liberating thing a woman can do.


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A searing memoir from Harry Potter star and activist Evanna Lynch about the bravery it takes to embrace ourselves and our dreams while navigating the battle between perfection and creativity. Gradually, I began to feel this dawning awareness that womanhood was coming for me, that it was looming inevitably, and it didn't feel safe . . . While those around me tried to exp A searing memoir from Harry Potter star and activist Evanna Lynch about the bravery it takes to embrace ourselves and our dreams while navigating the battle between perfection and creativity. Gradually, I began to feel this dawning awareness that womanhood was coming for me, that it was looming inevitably, and it didn't feel safe . . . While those around me tried to expedite it, simulate it, exacerbate it, I tried to strangle it. Evanna Lynch has long been viewed as a role model for people recovering from anorexia, as the story of her casting as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films grew to almost mythic proportions--a tale of how she faced disordered eating as a young girl, found solace in a beloved book series, and several years later landed the part of her favorite character. But that is not the whole story. Even after recovery, there remains a conflict at the very core of her being: a bitter struggle between the familiar, anesthetizing pursuit of perfection and the desire to fully and fearlessly embrace her creativity. In her book, Evanna confronts all the complexities and contradictions within herself and reveals how she began to conquer her self-hate while facing her fear of leaving the neatness and safety of girlhood for the unpredictable journey of being a woman. Revealing a startlingly accomplished voice, Evanna delves into the very heart of a woman's relationship with her own body. Unwilling to let the darkness of her eating disorder eclipse her dreams, Evanna explores the pivotal moments and choices in her life that led her down the path of creativity. Taking the reader through her personal journey, she reveals how by channeling her fears of the messy, uncharted future into joyful, ambitious endeavors, she reaches toward acceptance of the wild, sensual, and unpredictable reality of womanhood. Honest, electrifying, and inspiring, this is a story of the tragedy and the glory of growing up, of mourning girlhood and stepping into the unknown, and how that act of courage is the most liberating thing a woman can do.

30 review for The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting: The Tragedy and The Glory of Growing Up (A Memoir)

  1. 4 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    “We have this compulsion to turn every story into a fairy tale.” Thus goes a line towards the very start of the book, in the author’s note. How true is this idea! Especially in today’s world where each of us seems to know more people through SM sites and follow our favourite stars through their sites and interviews, we build this idea of a picture-perfect existence for every person…. Except us. And then we wallow in self-pity and depression, wondering how everyone else is so happy and lucky. Only “We have this compulsion to turn every story into a fairy tale.” Thus goes a line towards the very start of the book, in the author’s note. How true is this idea! Especially in today’s world where each of us seems to know more people through SM sites and follow our favourite stars through their sites and interviews, we build this idea of a picture-perfect existence for every person…. Except us. And then we wallow in self-pity and depression, wondering how everyone else is so happy and lucky. Only the mature realise that almost the entire social Internet is nothing but a “fake news” of sorts. One pressure that SM (especially Facebook and Instagram) creates is the need to look gorgeous. And one requirement of this “looking gorgeous” is being thin. The photoshopped pics of supermodels and actresses don’t help matters. The female human body is expected to be in the hourglass shape, no matter which demographic it belongs to. If the pressure is so much on us mere mortals, it must be much higher on the supermodels and the actresses themselves. And this pressure can make people choose drastic measures of weight loss at times. I was aware of Evanna Lynch only because she had starred as one of my favourite HP characters, Luna Lovegood, in the movie adaptation, and she did such an admirable job of bringing Luna to life. I had heard that this memoir dealt with her struggles with anorexia, something I hadn’t known about before. And I had assumed that this struggle started as an aftermath of her success in moviedom, as a result of the pressure to look well all the time. But I was wrong in this last point. Her battles with anorexia began when she was eleven, long before many kids even know what the word means. Many see anorexia as a dirty word, a disease of weirdos who want to stay thin at ridiculous costs and with extreme methods. But we rarely hear of the mental struggle behind that disease. Evanna Lynch fills this lacuna admirably with her honest-to-heart memoir. The book is bold. It is dark. It is shocking. It is unbelievable. It is NOT a how-to manual for eating disorders. All you get is a detailed account of the extent of her struggles, her attempt to explain why she felt compelled to become thinner, and her ongoing conflict with her looks and self-acceptance. There is an undertone of humour in many of her statements. For instance, this is how she introduces the chapter detailing the start of her eating struggles: “The melodramatic and often boastful chapter chronicling the tragic downfall of a poor young girl as she whittles herself away, disfigured by her own self-hate, becoming a mere shadow of her former vivacious self! As if we all should weep bitterly over the fact that one self-obsessed, cosseted young girl is flinging a plate of lovingly prepared lasagne out the bathroom window where the cats will slurp up the evidence.“ But underneath this funny façade, you get a peek at how much this young girl has battled through in her misguided attempts at thinness. Lynch is a very picturesque writer and creates a vivid imagery of the most abstract concepts. Sample this: "Creativity, she doesn’t fit in a box. She’s a wild, fluid, uncontrollable energy that spreads out sensuously from a curious, wide open mind, in large expanses of aimless time on dreamy liminal train journeys or in subtle moments between waking and sleep. She can’t be pushed or coughed up or beaten into submission by a brutal and unmerciful regime. She needs light and breath and space, and then, maybe, if the mood takes her, she’ll unfurl her wings and let her colours run into the atmosphere." Overall, in terms of writing style, content, and emotions, the book hits most of the right checkboxes. While only at times venturing into a philosophical mode--I was a bit bored by these parts; I don’t enjoy too much of ‘gyaan’-- the rest of the book is a dark and troubling true story. It doesn’t portray the road to recovery as a smooth journey with a fixed destination but as a gritty and nerve-wracking experience that is ongoing. There is slight bit of repetitiveness to the writing but this is very common in memoirs, especially celebrity ones. HP fans might be eager to know this: To what extent does the Harry Potter experience appear in the memoir? Answer: It appears just as much as necessary and will certainly make you happy, though you might not look at Luna the same way again. The writing contains Evanna’s obsession for the book series, her fangirling of JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe, and her step into professional acting with the HP movies. But none of this is the main focus; anorexia remains the lead character of this memoir. Evanna Lynch made it very clear that she won't reveal numbers in any form in this book. At first, I thought that it was a bad decision, that it would leave the book incomplete without her mentioning her weight upheavals. But after I read the book, I saw the merit in her decision. Even for someone like me, far away from that extreme level of anorexia, I found her mention of some techniques very tempting to try. So it would have really messed up with the minds of those still struggling with their body image. There are a lot of triggering ideas in this book. Just know that it’s a heavy book and quite intense on the emotions. Recommended if you are an Evanna Lynch fan. Recommended if you struggle with your body image. Recommended if you want to read a genuine and heartfelt memoir. Recommended if you want to know how devious anorexia can be. But remember that it’s quite graphic and befuddling at times in its depictions. To be read only when you are mentally strong. *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Blakeney Clark

    ‘I believe in the kind of fairy-tales that have depth, complexity, profundity and moments of darkness that birth a fiercer belief in the light’ Where to even begin. I mean, this book was amazing! Both a gritty memoir about Lynch’s own experiences with an eating disorder and a wider treatise on growing up as a woman, Evanna’s writing style was beautiful and always cleverly crafted, her voice and insights startlingly real and raw. I read it in 2 sittings and it would have been 1 if I hadn’t inconve ‘I believe in the kind of fairy-tales that have depth, complexity, profundity and moments of darkness that birth a fiercer belief in the light’ Where to even begin. I mean, this book was amazing! Both a gritty memoir about Lynch’s own experiences with an eating disorder and a wider treatise on growing up as a woman, Evanna’s writing style was beautiful and always cleverly crafted, her voice and insights startlingly real and raw. I read it in 2 sittings and it would have been 1 if I hadn’t inconveniently needed to sleep, it was written that addictively. I will say it is not an easy book to read. Nor does it fit into the neat ‘spiral and phoenix-like recovery’ narrative that accounts of mental health all too often fall into. At times you can’t help but be frustrated at the narrator and shocked by the places that the book dares to go, but by writing with such self-conscious realism, Evanna’s story provides a much needed reality check on the way both sufferers, mental health services and the media approach mental health. Sometimes it does not just ‘get better’. Sometimes it gets worse, a lot worse before this, with a whole lot of upping and downing in between. I’m definitely doing a bad job of explaining it, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who has ever struggled with living in a body they don’t like, growing up and fitting in, or anyone just wanting an insight into the way eating disorders work. In a word, it was unforgettable.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Having also struggled with anorexia, I feel like in less than 24 hours this book has changed my life. I don’t think anyone not adequately recovered from their eating disorder should read this; it threatened dark thoughts within me, two years out. However ultimately I feel it has given me an entirely new outlook on life (and reminded me why I will forever remain recovered). I have never read anything that so perfectly captured the struggle of an eating disorder without falling prey to its own atte Having also struggled with anorexia, I feel like in less than 24 hours this book has changed my life. I don’t think anyone not adequately recovered from their eating disorder should read this; it threatened dark thoughts within me, two years out. However ultimately I feel it has given me an entirely new outlook on life (and reminded me why I will forever remain recovered). I have never read anything that so perfectly captured the struggle of an eating disorder without falling prey to its own attempts to glamorize itself. I mourn everything I lost in the years I lost to my ED, and Evanna perfectly captures that as well. Unlike anything I’ve read before, I believe she accurately portrays the reason it is so difficult to escape eating disorders, far away from an actual interest in losing weight: a fear that what is above ground is not enough, so in the end it is easier to succumb to something empty but safe. I also want to acknowledge for any readers that have not themselves had an eating disorder, how perfectly she conveys the non-eating aspects of eating disorders. It seems second nature to me that they are not at all about being thin and that it is merely a consequence of the addiction, but I realize that misunderstood narrative is still often portrayed in media. It’s difficult to explain how anorexia both isn’t and is about being thin, but Evanna managed it. It’s not really possible to summarize the novel because it is a chronological retelling of her life (certainly not even close to all aspects of it), but I highly recommend it to anyone looking for enlightenment that IS NOT IN THE GRIPS OF AN EATING DISORDER. I think this is a rare ED book that needed to have been written, but please proceed with caution. If you are recovered enough to read this, it may be life changing (not trying to be too dramatic, it’s just a book. But when you’ve sacrificed your life for something as serious as an eating disorder, it’s not unreasonable to change from a pivotal book).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    I remember, years ago, coming across an article by Evanna about how to approach one's self-image. She said something to the effect of it being worth it to deal with one's flaws not as an affirmation of self-loathing, but as a means to no longer have them rule your life. And as a pimply, stretch-marked, gangly teen, her words carried immense gravity and far-reaching power. That simple wisdom — something my young mind, ensnared by obsessive self-hating loops, could not yet rise up to see — has rem I remember, years ago, coming across an article by Evanna about how to approach one's self-image. She said something to the effect of it being worth it to deal with one's flaws not as an affirmation of self-loathing, but as a means to no longer have them rule your life. And as a pimply, stretch-marked, gangly teen, her words carried immense gravity and far-reaching power. That simple wisdom — something my young mind, ensnared by obsessive self-hating loops, could not yet rise up to see — has remained with me as a precious guiding light. Even then, I could perceive in Evanna's delivery something that impacted almost beyond the message: an assured, compassionate, lived-through quality which emanates out of those who possess the extraordinary forbearance to make it through dark nights of the soul. And here, in her memoir, that spirit gleams. This time, with achingly profound dimensions. It may seem unusual to fix on this, but after listening to the book, what moved me most was Evanna’s remarkable grasp on storytelling itself. This is no isolated remark, as her talent both elevates and reinforces her themes to an alchemical height. She intuitively understands (and mentions herself early on) that in order to heal, you cannot bypass the blood and guts of your emotional unraveling. To do so would rob not only yourself of lasting illumination, but would cast a half-light on your audience, quick to snuff out in their own lives at the realization that their own suffering is not so neat. When you allow yourself the courage to mine your trials deep and true, it takes on a scope beyond the personal and becomes a roadmap out of any and all private hells. That is how Evanna’s striking authenticity personally reached me: as a grounded, lucid whisper — from within the darkness and beyond it — that there is meaning, wisdom, and significance to your suffering even when you cannot yet perceive it. And beneath its poignant surface are even deeper insights that seem to hold their weight from being hinted at than being definitively explored: existential questions surrounding the impossibility of living without an anchor in the world, however light or damaging; the crucial importance of having myths and characters to live in and embody for strength and wholeness; the solemn awareness that it is sometimes in our nature to stave off healing, even when it is within our grasp, because of our instinct that doing so would summon a horde of uncontrollable unknowns. And yet another unusual aspect to fix on, perhaps, is in Evanna’s call to write and speak her story. You get the feeling that you are with her in a tumble down her Pensieve, everything alive with shocking urgency. She stands before you and beside you, as old and young Evanna, detailing exactly what she had felt and thought, and what she now gleans. Although it can be said that this is every memoirist’s role, there is an uncanny difference here. She seems at once to be sharing her story and subtly communicating the significance of stories themselves, their potent, enigmatic power to restore, to provide context to your growth, to offer love and comfort to a past version of yourself who, through your telling, find still to be alive. You can feel it in her voice, as she renders each line and character with intense reality. As someone who has breathed boundless praise on Potter, it’s clear this is a writer who has internalized and wholeheartedly partaken in the majesty of stories. Finally, on the core subject of eating disorders, I found Evanna’s take to be similar to the brilliant psychologist Marion Woodman (Addiction to Perfection). She was passionately against treating it as a purely physical disorder, believing that a conscious interface with one’s unconscious (through dreams, active imagination, body work, acting, and art) are vital components to fortifying one’s Self. I couldn’t help but recognize Evanna as a perfect example of using acting to reclaim once-hidden depths. Luna Lovegood, who herself is queen of her feminine, unconscious wells, unites the paradoxes of strength and innocence, playfulness and sensibility, wisdom and irreverence, with such ease as to seem unearthly. But really, at heart, the truth is that Luna has embraced her humanity more than most. And as her vehicle and as her friend, Evanna Lynch showcases the fruits of that integration by walking with her own distinctive, fierce grace.

  5. 4 out of 5

    K Wheeler

    I loved this book! I've always loved the story of Evanna Lynch going from being a regular person to the actor portraying my favorite Harry Potter character, and it's really nice to get her perspective. I love how much of a Harry Potter nerd she is, and continued to be throughout filming. I can 100% see myself doing the same thing if I were in a similar situation. I also really enjoyed how sincere her discussions of her eating disorder were. She acknowledged that it wasn't just a simple switch to I loved this book! I've always loved the story of Evanna Lynch going from being a regular person to the actor portraying my favorite Harry Potter character, and it's really nice to get her perspective. I love how much of a Harry Potter nerd she is, and continued to be throughout filming. I can 100% see myself doing the same thing if I were in a similar situation. I also really enjoyed how sincere her discussions of her eating disorder were. She acknowledged that it wasn't just a simple switch to flip in her brain and she was suddenly "better" and how it's a continued struggle, even when other things seem to be going great in your life. Some of the stories were really gut wrenching, but I'm glad that she felt like she could share her truth, and that she did so in a way that didn't create another book that centers around disordered eating that is essentially just a roadmap for how to "successfully" have/hide your eating habits. Also, she read the audiobook herself which made the whole thing 1 million times better!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    AUDIOBOOK review: loved listening to Evanna her story, told by Evanna. The book gives a nice and broad insight Evanna her life and all she has been through. As a teacher I feel it is important that I know what eating disorders can be like, in the words of a person who has been through it. Definitely the most meaningful read of this year! An AMAZING job by Evanna!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leo

    Had a good laugh in parts and got me a bit more enthused again to read. So despite having never had an eating disorder, parts were amusing and relatable.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    Despite using Goodreads for years, I’ve never actually written out a review before, which I hope speaks to how special this book is. Since the onset of puberty 25 (!) years ago, I have struggled with a deep, vicious, and immensely powerful sense of self-hate. Unlike Evanna, I have (mercifully, miraculously) not suffered from an eating disorder, but never before have I seen my innermost thought patterns on the page. Like Evanna, I was born into a loving, stable family and great societal privilege Despite using Goodreads for years, I’ve never actually written out a review before, which I hope speaks to how special this book is. Since the onset of puberty 25 (!) years ago, I have struggled with a deep, vicious, and immensely powerful sense of self-hate. Unlike Evanna, I have (mercifully, miraculously) not suffered from an eating disorder, but never before have I seen my innermost thought patterns on the page. Like Evanna, I was born into a loving, stable family and great societal privilege as someone white, cis, straight, able-bodied, middle-class. I have no childhood trauma to speak of. Also like Evanna, I have spent decades bewildering and exasperating family, friends, partners and therapists who don’t understand where this self-loathing arose from or how to deal with it. Aside from the physical specifics of anorexia, my heart swelled and broke to read someone else, someone who by all measures is a thoughtful, creative and inspirational person, go through the same feelings that have dominated my life and relationships for so many years. The self-hate has validated itself that I am something worthless and alien every time other people seem unable to comprehend it. Seeing here that I am not alone was meaningful and helpful beyond words. Thanks to therapy, medication, and the many wonderful interpersonal relationships I’ve been blessed with, I was in a healthy enough place to read this book and feel a painful, enlightening and incredibly fulfilling sense of recognition. I’m a Harry Potter nerd who already admired Evanna Lynch’s vegan activism, but her writing and this beautiful, difficult memoir are such a gift to the world. I really needed this book and I think many other people do too. Not at all what I was expecting from a celebrity memoir but I am SO glad I read it!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    reading this book over the past month has been like greeting a friend every time i picked it up. in all of the dark times that inevitably arise, evanna lynch was there to remind me that i’m not alone and that it is not forever.

  10. 5 out of 5

    tj

    there is no way to put into words how much i needed to read this book and the emotional connection i have to it. i found myself reading and re reading pages and sentences that i was sure had come out of my own mouth at points when i had struggled and couldn’t help but cry at certain points - her writing was so beautiful and reflected that of my own pain so accurately and yet sensitively. evanna writes from a very perfectly balanced a perspective, allowing us to see through the lenses of her eati there is no way to put into words how much i needed to read this book and the emotional connection i have to it. i found myself reading and re reading pages and sentences that i was sure had come out of my own mouth at points when i had struggled and couldn’t help but cry at certain points - her writing was so beautiful and reflected that of my own pain so accurately and yet sensitively. evanna writes from a very perfectly balanced a perspective, allowing us to see through the lenses of her eating disorder whilst also refusing to make the book inherently “disordered” which makes this a must read to anyone who has struggled with similar issues at some point in their life. the book was originally gifted to me and i was skeptic all to the thought of an autobiography/memoir surrounding the concept of eating disorders however i cannot express enough how much this book touched me and i already cannot wait to re read it in times of need.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gracie Beswick

    ⭐ 3.5 stars ⭐ There were some really good bits in this book and I read it in three days (a book this size would usually take me weeks) so it was certainly gripping. However I really think it could have been improved with more edits, I found a few typos and there were a few repetitive bits that I think could have been cut. The overall direction of the book was sometimes unclear and I think there were the bones of a fantastic book that a better editing process could have optimised.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anna Kalyta

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Spoiler alert!! I don't often write reviews of books, as I can never think of what to say. But I really, really wanted to review this. As somebody who is in recovery from anorexia at the age of 28, I can easily say this book is everything I needed at 18. It is honest, cathartic, and wonderfully evocative throughout. As a new author, Evanna's writing style is witty, intelligent and deeply relatable. It feels as though she is truly speaking to the author throughout, telling Her Story rather than ju Spoiler alert!! I don't often write reviews of books, as I can never think of what to say. But I really, really wanted to review this. As somebody who is in recovery from anorexia at the age of 28, I can easily say this book is everything I needed at 18. It is honest, cathartic, and wonderfully evocative throughout. As a new author, Evanna's writing style is witty, intelligent and deeply relatable. It feels as though she is truly speaking to the author throughout, telling Her Story rather than just telling a story. Barring her inpatient stay and of course her Harry Potter experiences, I feel like she was writing my own tale in these pages. Heart wrenching, painful memories of nights spent secretly exercising in the light from my en-suite, days spent fearing meal times and isolating myself away from any chance at a fulfilling, meaningful life. But her positive tales also mirror my own. Evanna talks extensively of the need to find meaning in recovery, to have something there to help you make life worth living. I qualified as a mental health nurse because of my own experiences, and to this day I am grateful for everything that has led to where I am now, despite the pain. This book has honestly been one of the most inspiring, affirming reads of my life. I daresay, it may be my favourite book of all time. I have cried, I have laughed, I have messaged my own mother to tell her how sorry I am for the pain she went through, the loss of a daughter to the dark side of her she couldn't bear to meet. Honestly, I want to recommend it to the world. To every person, young and old, suffering from this dreadful condition. Life is worth living. The good bits, the bad bits, the scary bits and the awe inspiring bits. I feel privelaged to have been given this insight into Evanna's life and experiences, and though she may never read this review, I dearly hope she knows she has changed people's lives with her words. Thank you.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    It’s official: this is my favorite memoir of all time. “Negativity always leads you to a dead end; you can crawl into the darkest, dankest corner, and though it is lonely and miserable, you know where the wall is, your back firmly pressed against it, and there is something wonderfully safe about that. When you choose positivity, on the other hand, you choose limitless potential, and whatever you look at with positivity grows and spreads and unfurls in a thousand different directions.” I had a fee It’s official: this is my favorite memoir of all time. “Negativity always leads you to a dead end; you can crawl into the darkest, dankest corner, and though it is lonely and miserable, you know where the wall is, your back firmly pressed against it, and there is something wonderfully safe about that. When you choose positivity, on the other hand, you choose limitless potential, and whatever you look at with positivity grows and spreads and unfurls in a thousand different directions.” I had a feeling I would love it, so I ordered a signed pre-order copy from Waterstones a couple months ago. I have always strongly related to Luna, and always wanted to be friends with Evanna. After reading her story, 463 pages of raw, heartbreaking and heartwarming stories, I’m in awe of Evanna’s courage, strength, and road to recovery. Evanna struggled with anorexia, and her harrowing battle was inspiring to read. For the first time, we get a look inside her mind through every stage of her struggles—even as she’s filming Harry Potter. I’m so glad I read this, and I’m officially forever Evanna’s biggest fan.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Pizzichemi

    This was an absolutely raw and authentic account of the author’s struggles with body image and anorexia, and the resistance to growing up while also fighting for big dreams. It is written in such beautiful prose and the author clearly took her time to craft a meaningful and impactful work. For such a young author, there was an incredible amount of depth to both her experience and her insights. It has really made me reflect on my own issues with body dysmorphia in a new light through her thoughtf This was an absolutely raw and authentic account of the author’s struggles with body image and anorexia, and the resistance to growing up while also fighting for big dreams. It is written in such beautiful prose and the author clearly took her time to craft a meaningful and impactful work. For such a young author, there was an incredible amount of depth to both her experience and her insights. It has really made me reflect on my own issues with body dysmorphia in a new light through her thoughtful way of reflecting and processing as the story progresses. I found the book to be both terrifying and inspiring, and so deeply sad sometimes. If in recovery or in the throes of an eating disorder, this may not be an appropriate read right now, but the author is mindful to not glorify her eating disorder at any point (which some memoirs of this type definitely fall into even when the message is about recovery). I’ve always been a fan of the author from what I can sense of her in the public light, but this very real account of her humanity and inner thoughts only makes me feel more fondness for her. I hope she keeps writing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Charlie St-St

    The most raw and painful book I have ever read; I felt every single word of it. Evanna Lynch has been one of my favourite 'famous people' since I discovered her Chickpeeps podcast at the start of 2020, which was when I realised that so many of her values and interests seem to be in line with my own. But this book is something else. It is almost haunting to read a memoir that is so awfully yet brilliantly relatable, and I haven't felt so gripped by a book's clutches for a long time. Not only was The most raw and painful book I have ever read; I felt every single word of it. Evanna Lynch has been one of my favourite 'famous people' since I discovered her Chickpeeps podcast at the start of 2020, which was when I realised that so many of her values and interests seem to be in line with my own. But this book is something else. It is almost haunting to read a memoir that is so awfully yet brilliantly relatable, and I haven't felt so gripped by a book's clutches for a long time. Not only was I able to go to the book launch event and have my own copy SIGNED (Evanna said she liked my moon earrings and made my 2021 so much better) but even more importantly, this was the book that got me through my first days of Covid - I will never forget forcing myself to hold off on my nap for 10 more minutes, just to reach the end of another chapter. I will definitely treasure this book and return to it in the future. For now, I want to reflect more deeply on all the things it has made me think about myself and the world. Deep, I know; but that is inevitably Evanna's intention. It has also really made me want to go to a ballet class. There are an endless number of quotes that I am going to keep stored in a notebook for difficult days, but my favourite: "I believe in the kind of fairy-tales that have depth, complexity, profundity and moments of darkness that birth a fiercer belief in light; the kind where the endings are not endings but breakthroughs that lead to the next adventure."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn (Carrie)

    I don’t know how to write a review really. But I will write a few things….. 1. This book is sooooooooooooo well written. 2. The first 9 or so chapters can be VERY TRIGGERING to those with mental health issues. Especially any kind of eating disorder. 3. Also a self harm trigger 4. Also a few words to describe bodies are not the stance I have on bodies. Or how I am learning to view bodies through a Health at Every Size lense. (Google HAES) 5. It’s a memoir but written so well it could be fiction. 6. I I don’t know how to write a review really. But I will write a few things….. 1. This book is sooooooooooooo well written. 2. The first 9 or so chapters can be VERY TRIGGERING to those with mental health issues. Especially any kind of eating disorder. 3. Also a self harm trigger 4. Also a few words to describe bodies are not the stance I have on bodies. Or how I am learning to view bodies through a Health at Every Size lense. (Google HAES) 5. It’s a memoir but written so well it could be fiction. 6. I am MORTIFIED & HORRIFIED at the way Eating Disorders are treated & so grateful my time inpatient & residential and outpatient was not at all like Evanna’s traumatic experiences. 7. Trauma triggers also - abandonment 8. I loved reading her true struggle & how it was not magic 123 into Harry Potter and acting. 9. I kinda hope Evanna tried to write fiction. So good. She is a great writer. Most memoirs are just filler. 10. I relate to this book in so many ways & to Evanna. I plan to go back & highlight some helpful insights as I am not recovered yet from things. Really GREAT book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    shawna’s shelf

    “I think the safe path always leads to a dead end.” I’ve loved Evanna at a young age while watching Harry Potter, & still as an adult (after becoming vegan myself) listening to her podcast the chickpeeps. So when I saw she wrote a memoir, I knew I had to get my hands on this book. (I cried when my signed copy arrived in the mail) I listened to the audiobook where Evanna narrates the book herself, which 100% elevated the reading experience. At the very beginning, Evanna had me laughing out loud. “I think the safe path always leads to a dead end.” I’ve loved Evanna at a young age while watching Harry Potter, & still as an adult (after becoming vegan myself) listening to her podcast the chickpeeps. So when I saw she wrote a memoir, I knew I had to get my hands on this book. (I cried when my signed copy arrived in the mail) I listened to the audiobook where Evanna narrates the book herself, which 100% elevated the reading experience. At the very beginning, Evanna had me laughing out loud. But not too much longer we get an insight into her life that at times was not an easy read, dealing with her eating disorder, where I sympathized with my own experience. Her story captivated me and I found myself reading this whenever I had any spare time. This book is one of my favorite memoirs I’ve read, and will always stay with me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Josefin

    I have cried, I have laughed, I have been angry, and felt every goddamn emotion in this book. It was simply amazing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Felicity Williams

    Should become essential reading for anyone working with or struggling with eating disorders. Beautiful, brutal, sensitive, enlightening and, most importantly, honest.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    “And maybe I will live a happier, wilder, more colourful and unpredictable life if I can finally abandon the debilitating and brutal pursuit of perfection.”

  21. 5 out of 5

    Louie

    A must-read, truly heartfelt memoir, seeking the beauty of imperfection.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Felicity

    I saw Evanna Lynch on Between the Covers and decided to buy this last weekend. I was immediately hooked by this book which might be an odd thing to say about a memoir which focusses on Lynch's battle with an eating disorder and her mental health but I genuinely was nearly late for work a few times because I didn't want to stop reading this book! I would have raced through it if I hadn't been so busy, Lynch writes with honesty about her background, and how the eating disorder played out. And no, I saw Evanna Lynch on Between the Covers and decided to buy this last weekend. I was immediately hooked by this book which might be an odd thing to say about a memoir which focusses on Lynch's battle with an eating disorder and her mental health but I genuinely was nearly late for work a few times because I didn't want to stop reading this book! I would have raced through it if I hadn't been so busy, Lynch writes with honesty about her background, and how the eating disorder played out. And no, being cast in Harry Potter did not "cure" her!! What I loved about this book, was Lynch's unique voice. She is very introspective and has a unique take on various situations and I felt like I was experiencing everything with her. She also somehow writes a book about anorexia without sensationalising it and the book doesn't end when her medical care does. It continues until she is well into adulthood and finally makes peace with her body. Because of course any condition like this which is linked to mental health does not go away instantly. It lingers for years. I also appreciated the fact that she warned those who have or have recently had eating disorders to either not read the book or skip certain chapters as they might find it triggers them. A lot of what she said about being scared of womanhood brought back memories of myself. I didn't have an eating disorder but when I was 12 I had a growth spurt and suddenly was on the skinny side and underweight for the first time in my life! I had also been through a difficult time and suddenly appreciated my new skinny body. And although I never avoided food etc, I did start doing more exercise to keep my stomach flat and I used to sometimes hold it in all the time so people could see my ribs.... Thankfully, I changed schools and life improved significantly less than a year later which I sometimes think was the making of me and stopped me from going down that dangerous spiral. I learned a lot from this book and will hopefully put it in to good use as sadly a student of mine is currently going through a very difficult time with a similar issue. I think everyone should read this book. But women and parents will particularly benefit! I didn't know that much about Lynch before I read this book apart from the fact she was Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter. I now admire her greatly and think that despite the honest darkness of what she has been through and what people who suffer an eating disorder go through, there is hope and empowerment in this book. Even for those who like me might not have had an eating disorder but have had low self-esteem and body confidence. Definitely worth reading, but maybe avoid it if you are struggling with an eating disorder or are still recovering. Even though Lynch deliberately leaves out statistics and calories I can see why this book could trigger someone if they read certain chapters.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah LaMountain

    This book is amazing in so many aspects. But in the current climate with criticisms surrounding J.K. Rowling this book just proves how much bigger the series has become and how it vastly surpasses the beliefs of the singular author. Evanna was only 11 years old when she was hospitalized for a severe eating disorder. The world that we have created for our children results in 11-year-old girls hating themselves enough to develop serious mental health struggles that could end in death. This memoir This book is amazing in so many aspects. But in the current climate with criticisms surrounding J.K. Rowling this book just proves how much bigger the series has become and how it vastly surpasses the beliefs of the singular author. Evanna was only 11 years old when she was hospitalized for a severe eating disorder. The world that we have created for our children results in 11-year-old girls hating themselves enough to develop serious mental health struggles that could end in death. This memoir I beautiful and cruel and bare, which so often doesn't happen when people overcome mental health challenges. They want to highlight the positives to avoid negative thinking patterns and to pride themselves on their accomplishments, as they should. But that can sometimes set a false portrayal of how dirty overcoming mental health struggles is and Evanna chooses to strip her soul down and share all of the grit and darkness with her readers. I love that she brings light to the fact that eating disorders, along with many other mental health disorders, are stripped down to mere physical problems in the Healthcare world and that in order for us to truly combat body dysmorphia more resources need to be given to mental health institutions and the two sides need to be working together. While she does talk about her journey to being cast in OotP, her relationship with Rowling, and her time in set it is not the primary focus of the book. In fact, its merely a footnote about a bigger journey and she feels obligated to continue to correct that HP did not "save" her or lead to her beating her eating disorder because it just isn't that simple. This book made me love Evanna so much more, who has always been someone that I've admired for her compassion towards all sentient beings on this planet. I never would have guessed, that even recently, she is still someone that struggles with self-loathing and her candid portrayal of herself was incredibly brave. Highly recommend this book for anyone that has struggled with any type of mental health disorder surrounding self-hate. It helps the readers feel that they aren't alone. She has become the patronus so many of her fans needed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Connor Stompanato

    I absolutely loved this book and I'm so glad that it exists. I've always felt a connection to Evanna Lynch - Luna was my favourite Harry Potter character, Evanna was one of my first celebrity crushes (lol), her story of going from Harry Potter mega-fan to an actual actor in the movies was every kid's dream, and in later years her veganism and animal rights activism has made me love her even more. Her eating disorder is something that I was always aware of, but was too young to put much thought i I absolutely loved this book and I'm so glad that it exists. I've always felt a connection to Evanna Lynch - Luna was my favourite Harry Potter character, Evanna was one of my first celebrity crushes (lol), her story of going from Harry Potter mega-fan to an actual actor in the movies was every kid's dream, and in later years her veganism and animal rights activism has made me love her even more. Her eating disorder is something that I was always aware of, but was too young to put much thought into back when I was a big fan of Harry Potter and by the time I developed my own issues with body image and food I had moved on to new interests. I listened to this memoir as an audiobook as it was read by Evanna herself which is something I always love, every word packs a punch and you can tell she poured her heart into it. Evanna hosts a vegan podcast called The Chickpeeps that I listen to so in a way this felt like an extra long bonus episode. Hearing her brutally honest story - at times tragic, at times scary, at times darkly funny, at times relatable - made me appreciate Evanna as a person more than ever. She doesn't shy away from the disgusting details and never sugarcoats anything. In the introduction she mentions that when people had read her drafts of the book they had pointed out that some parts sounded too mean, and she says yeah, it's meant to be. This made the story so much more real and I think she successfully avoids making eating disorders sound glamorous and dangerously interesting, something that is very easy to accidentally do. At the same time, she doesn't shy away from discussing the comfort her eating disorder provided her with and that she felt like she had no personality without it - a feeling that I can intensely relate to with depression more than food. When you struggle with something for so long. who is left behind once that issue is no longer prominent? This is definitely not a book I would recommend to everyone - it does not hold back on it's topics and if you read this in the wrong headspace, would likely be triggering. However, if you do read this memoir at the right time, with the right mindset, I can guarantee that you will love it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pheonix

    [I have so many thoughts about this book that I hardly know what to write. Luna Lovegood has always been my fav HP character and the one I identify with most but only for her oddities. I could only covet her self acceptance. I too struggled with Anorexia and though it's been nearly 20 years since my recovery I still find myself sometimes saying things like "if only I could be anorexic again" I always give a laugh like it's a big joke but there's a small part of me that is not joking. Evanna is the [I have so many thoughts about this book that I hardly know what to write. Luna Lovegood has always been my fav HP character and the one I identify with most but only for her oddities. I could only covet her self acceptance. I too struggled with Anorexia and though it's been nearly 20 years since my recovery I still find myself sometimes saying things like "if only I could be anorexic again" I always give a laugh like it's a big joke but there's a small part of me that is not joking. Evanna is the only one I have ever heard talk about how there is always something behind the Anorexia, driving it. She has taken a different approach to this subject than anyone else. A better approach IMO. She doesn't sugar coat the recovery nor does she glorify the morbidness of the disease like happens so often. When she played Luna she was someone I admired for her great beauty and slenderness. So, for me to find out that she struggled with the same insecurities and self loathing as I have is nothing short of enlightening. I don't believe I'll ever be the same after this book. Through her powerful story she has convinced me of something I could never convince myself of before. My body should be treated well. Instead of getting angry at it for not being perfect or gaining extra pounds I am simply going to nourish it with healthy things and healthy ways to keep it fit and never worry about the number on the scale again. I can't say the word Anorexia will never flit through my head but I can say with confidence it will never make me feel less than ever again. Not less because I chose to heal from it and not less because I'll never go back but instead I will be proud that I have chosen health for myself and my body which has been through so much. Though I doubt you'll read this, thank you Evanna. Thank you. And I wish you every happiness in life.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Kats

    I love Evanna Lynch's Chickpeeps Podcast, I love Harry Potter, and I love everything Lynch does, so I knew I would love her memoir. I especially loved how she prefaced the book by saying how difficult it is talk about anorexia without bragging about it. It is in the very nature of the disorder to compete, to compare, to shock and awe (39). Thus, she includes no numbers, BMIs, or pictures. Another highlight: Lynch speaking of fandom and obsession, and how easy a person can fall into obsession whe I love Evanna Lynch's Chickpeeps Podcast, I love Harry Potter, and I love everything Lynch does, so I knew I would love her memoir. I especially loved how she prefaced the book by saying how difficult it is talk about anorexia without bragging about it. It is in the very nature of the disorder to compete, to compare, to shock and awe (39). Thus, she includes no numbers, BMIs, or pictures. Another highlight: Lynch speaking of fandom and obsession, and how easy a person can fall into obsession when they have an inferiority complex (328-29). She writes, "Loving someone else can keep you alive at times when it's impossible to love yourself" (329). This really resonated with the younger version of myself. My only gentle critique: in the intro to the second chapter, Lynch talks about her hesitation over writing about eating disorders and says "So, let's just get this bit over with" (40). However, most of the book is about anorexia and its grip on her life. I assumed the eating disorder part would only be that chapter, not the whole book (though I do understand that eating disorders permeate through all of life). I just thought that line was misleading to readers. Also, she talks about how she cringes when the media seemed to find anorexia the only interesting thing about her. Well, if that's not the only thing interesting about her, why is nearly her whole book revolving around it? Overall, my love for the book cancels out my tiny critiques. The ending was very hopeful and beautifully spoke of her love of being alive and being in her body.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nina | ahufflepuffsworld

    “I felt that I was gazing through a window that reminded me there was beauty, colour, magic and wonder available to me out there, if only I would just step over the precipice.” WOW, was the first thing I thought after reading the last sentence. This book is a true masterpiece! Evanna Lynch’s story is inspiring, heartbreaking, and full of hope. For many years, she’d struggled with an eating disorder, self-hate and the fear of growing up. Reading this book, this story, it was like I was there with h “I felt that I was gazing through a window that reminded me there was beauty, colour, magic and wonder available to me out there, if only I would just step over the precipice.” WOW, was the first thing I thought after reading the last sentence. This book is a true masterpiece! Evanna Lynch’s story is inspiring, heartbreaking, and full of hope. For many years, she’d struggled with an eating disorder, self-hate and the fear of growing up. Reading this book, this story, it was like I was there with her - fighting with her, crying with her, experiencing everything with her. Reading it, I could relate to many parts, as I’ve been struggling with disordered eating myself for two years. I can’t stress enough how this book - its honesty - is so very eye-opening. It was not an easy read, and the first memoir I’ve ever read, but I’m so glad I did. One important lesson I’ve learned: You need to have the WILL to recover. Keep trying, you’re doing your best. I’m so so proud of you. Evanna also writes about what it was like auditioning for Harry Potter, and in the end, getting the part of Luna Lovegood. I smiled so much every time she mentioned Luna. She’s so passionate about this character and really is the perfect Luna. I felt like I was listening to a friend telling me about her life. This book’s filled with so many life lessons, with so much hope. So, so inspiring. Definitely one of my favorite books this year!

  28. 5 out of 5

    ♡Ishaana♡

    As a huge Harry Potter nerd, I made it my duty to read this book as soon as it came out. I figured it was a light, fun read on how she was casted in the Harry Potter movies. Needless to say, it was not. As soon as I read the description I was intrigued. I rarely read non-fiction, and honestly I think this is the first memoir I ever read. ❝I never planned for anorexia to be my thing.❞ I mostly just picked it up because it was written by Evanna Lynch herself. The story follows her journey out of a As a huge Harry Potter nerd, I made it my duty to read this book as soon as it came out. I figured it was a light, fun read on how she was casted in the Harry Potter movies. Needless to say, it was not. As soon as I read the description I was intrigued. I rarely read non-fiction, and honestly I think this is the first memoir I ever read. ❝I never planned for anorexia to be my thing.❞ I mostly just picked it up because it was written by Evanna Lynch herself. The story follows her journey out of anorexia (an eating disorder). This was so beautifully written, and it really made me stop and think. Evanna really dives deep, and explains everything so clearly. ❝I believe in the kind of fairy-tales that have depth, complexity, profundity and moments of darkness that birth a fiercer belief in the light.❞ A lot of this book will be dark, but personally, I don't think a story needs to be happy to be great. It was very raw, and felt like she didn't hold a lot back, which in my opinion was a great decision. ❝It's the glimmers of ambition, of beginning to daydream again that pull you out of the darkness.❞ She explains the ups, downs, and turns that she goes through in her life. Sometimes it seems like actors are these perfect human beings, but this really showed me that everyone has something going on. This book was so gripping, and I could not put it down. Evanna tells us about her views on perfection, growing up, and creativity, which is very enlightening as a reader. But there are also happy moments, like when (and I don't want to spoil this for you) she reads the Harry Potter books, or gets cast as Luna. I loved this book so much and hope you get to read it. This was truly an unforgettable read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eli

    A beautifully written memoir about anorexia, which old friends know I am familiar with myself. Evanna gets to the existential core of issue so many of us have long felt neglected by mainstream medicine: a feeling that life is intrinsically meaningless and a questioning of why we might eat at all. Warning: this took me to a few dark places, and if you are likely triggered, it might do the same for you, too. Ultimately though, here is an engaging story here that veers away from glamourising this c A beautifully written memoir about anorexia, which old friends know I am familiar with myself. Evanna gets to the existential core of issue so many of us have long felt neglected by mainstream medicine: a feeling that life is intrinsically meaningless and a questioning of why we might eat at all. Warning: this took me to a few dark places, and if you are likely triggered, it might do the same for you, too. Ultimately though, here is an engaging story here that veers away from glamourising this coping mechanism and instead reframes it. Evanna reminds us we have two choice: 1. play it safe and endeavour to preserve and focus on one's "perfection"-- to avoid moving forward and instead deciding to stay right here and get smaller and smaller until you dissolve. 2. create a life and live it and experience all life's ups and downs. A sensitive demographic, we enjoy both in story where we are the witness not the feeler. Here is a reminder to be courageous--the greatest story can be our own and we can choose to let these inner fires burn us up, or use them to create something new.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dotty

    I enjoyed this book. Evanna is outspoken and honest about her eating disorder. She talks about how she felt at age 11 when she started to Want to lose weight and why being thin was important to her. She discusses the role her family's support had throughout the challenges anorexia placed on her as well as them. She shares how her creativity and persuit of perfection were conflicting. She delves into the horrors of "traditional therapy" and why they didn't really work as well as what did help. Sh I enjoyed this book. Evanna is outspoken and honest about her eating disorder. She talks about how she felt at age 11 when she started to Want to lose weight and why being thin was important to her. She discusses the role her family's support had throughout the challenges anorexia placed on her as well as them. She shares how her creativity and persuit of perfection were conflicting. She delves into the horrors of "traditional therapy" and why they didn't really work as well as what did help. She shares her experiences as a FAN of Harry Potter and her need to Be Luna Lovegood, her correspondence with JK Rawlings, and what it was like to work with all the stars in Harry Potter. However, even these experiences are placed within the context of being conflicted with the need for perfection and desire for creativity. Her life after "Luna Lovegood" is framed within the psychological impact of overcoming Anorexia. This book is well written and eye opening. I know I said this earlier but the honesty of how she bares her sould is incredible. I highly recommend it!

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