Homesick by Jenny Lauren
A Memoir of Family, Food, and Finding Hope

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This startlingly plainspoken and unflinching first-person account by the niece of fashion icon Ralph Lauren details a wrenching struggle with anorexia and bulimia -- and speaks powerfully to a widespread failure by the medical community to understand eating disorders.
With captivating blue eyes and dark hair, Jenny Lauren looked as though she'd stepped out of one of the glossy ads for which her uncle is famous. It was not long, however, before Jenny found herself in a world where it was easy to see herself as less than perfect. As a young dancer, she felt insecure that her muscular frame did not seem to measure up to the slim figures of the other girls. She was ten years old when she first starved herself. Although there were brief periods of recovery, Jenny spent much of her teens and early twenties bingeing, purging, and compulsively exercising. In 1997, her body finally broke down after years of relentless ravaging; her small intestine herniated. She could barely walk. But physician after physician told Jenny her ailments were largely in her head. Eventually Jenny's condition was connected to her eating disorder and the resulting strain on her digestive system, but it was too late -- irreparable damage appeared to have been done.
Although Homesick centers around Jenny's struggle with an eating disorder, as well as the dramatic surgery she was forced to undergo as a consequence, it is a much larger story that focuses on universal issues: the intricacies of family ties, the pressures of society, the search for selfhood, and ultimately, the power of finding hope. From the New York fashion shows to the art galleries of Santa Fe, from the Mayo Pain Management Clinic in Minnesota to the healing sanctuaries in Brazil, Jenny takes the reader on a cinematic odyssey to self-discovery. With flashes of wit and a knowing beyond its young writer's years, Homesick is a riveting and emotionally complex story of pain and tentative, hard-won recovery.

About Jenny Lauren

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Jenny Lauren grew up in New York City and earned her B.A. from Barnard College. A writer and painter, she currently lives in Manhattan. Visit her website at
Published April 6, 2004 by Atria Books. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Homesick

Publishers Weekly

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This memoir about bulimia and its effects by Ralph Lauren's niece alternates between the gruesomely fascinating and tediously sad.

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Book Reporter

Jenny --- so stunning that she modeled as a child for her uncle Ralph Lauren's fashion line --- began to obsess about her weight early.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Homesick: A Memoir of Family,...

The Best Reviews

Difficult to continue reading about someone in real life destroying themselves (this reviewer almost shut down after 25 pages because the horror of self- flagellation is so graphically real yet tough to swallow), HOMESICK should be prime reading for doctors, students, and families who ar...

Mar 11 2004 | Read Full Review of Homesick: A Memoir of Family,...

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