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Brisman, J. (2008). How Do You “Know”? Time Travel, Journal Writing, and the Consolidation of Self: A review of Creating Bodies: Eating Disorders as Self-Destructive Survival, by Katie Gentile. Mahwah, NJ: The Analytic Press, 2007, 210 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 44(3):476-480.
How Do You “Know”? Time Travel, Journal Writing, and the Consolidation of Self: A review of Creating Bodies: Eating Disorders as Self-Destructive Survival, by Katie Gentile. Mahwah, NJ: The Analytic Press, 2007, 210 pp.
Review by: Judith Brisman, Ph.D.
A Cross Cultures, Continents and an Ocean, through the writing of Creating Bodies, a young woman named Hannah is analyzed by way of an unusual and perhaps unprecedented vehicle—the exploration of 18 years' worth of diaries. In a quirky and perhaps daring undertaking, the author of this project, Katie Gentile, uses the diaries to track the psychic development of Hannah, as she traverses the ages of 14 to 32. The book considers that it is the journal writing itself that has played a significant part in allowing Hannah to negotiate and ultimately consolidate a life filled with madness, suicidal gestures, eating disorders, and internal disarray.
Have you ever read anyone's diary? This was potentially a deadly venture.
Interestingly, however, Gentile allows the consideration of the diaries to replicate what it is like, in and of itself, to enter someone's life. In that spirit, the book is rich with complexities, difficulties, moments of vision, limitations. It evolves like poetry, shifting and dodging linearity and convention. And then suddenly a narrative emerges. As it is with a life entered or a story well read, Creating Bodies insists that to participate one must in return think, question, worry, and wonder.
In that spirit, I indeed have both questions and an ever-persistent and inspired sense of challenge that this book evokes.
One of the most interesting directions in the book's journey is the consideration of the use of temporal linking as an ongoing guidepost threading experience from past through present to future potential.
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