Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
40 Reviews
“I didn’t decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. Being as thin as possible was a way to make the job of being an actress easier . . .”

Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work—first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.

In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn’t enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point.

Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.

From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues.

In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, Unbearable Lightness is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - UberButter - LibraryThing

If you're a fan of Portia de Rossi, this is a great book to read. Unbearable Lightness deals with her struggle with an eating disorder and her homosexuality early on in her career (when she played on ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - amme_mr - LibraryThing

I really enjoyed this autobiography by Portia De Rossi, where she openly and honestly discusses her battle with anorexia. It was an easy book to read, and one that I would highly recommend for others to read. Read full review

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Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
11
Section 3
17
Section 4
23
Section 5
31
Section 6
37
Section 7
43
Section 8
59
Section 18
145
Section 19
155
Section 20
167
Section 21
173
Section 22
185
Section 23
193
Section 24
207
Section 25
219

Section 9
65
Section 10
73
Section 11
83
Section 12
89
Section 13
99
Section 14
105
Section 15
113
Section 16
127
Section 17
133
Section 26
225
Section 27
235
Section 28
243
Section 29
253
Section 30
261
Section 31
275
Section 32
307
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Portia de Rossi is an Australian-born actress best known for her roles in the television series Ally McBeal, Arrested Development, and most recently Better Off Ted. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife, Ellen DeGeneres.

Bibliographic information