It is 1979, and Judith Ruskay Rabinor at age 37 has just finished her PhD program in psychology. She is about to meet her first patient who is going to set a course for Judith's work for the next 44 years.
The book is ostensibly about Judith's practice in working with patients battling eating disorders. True, that is the canvas on which she paints. But the story is so much bigger. The subtitle reveals the grand aspect of the journey, Making Peace with My Mother. Diving deeply into the complex nature of the mother/daughter relationship is the big picture and Judith paints it beautifully.
The back and forth storytelling from her own childhood until her mother's passing at age 93, is a masterful approach to untangling and then re-weaving the relationship with her mother.
Her personal journey is the most powerful aspect of this book, but there is more to note.
The reader is allowed to listen in on intimate exchanges between doctor and patients with eating disorders. For anyone who cannot relate to someone with an eating disorder, there is dialogue in there that is powerful and a critical aspect to help understand more about this illness. Actual patient identities are, of course, kept anonymous.
A skillful listener and herself a wounded healer, she explores her own story as she helps her patients learn from theirs.
The other aspect of this book that stuck with me is from the first sentence in this review. Dr Rabinor has been working in the field of eating disorders for 44 years. She must be a fountain of information regarding the modern history of this illness. A treasure to embrace.
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