Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi
A Story of Loss and Gain

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“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.

About Portia de Rossi

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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.
Published November 1, 2010 by Atria Books. 321 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Gay & Lesbian, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help. Non-fiction
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Unrated Critic Reviews for Unbearable Lightness

Publishers Weekly

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De Rossi, star of such television shows as Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, reads her memoir of life in the spotlight and closet, her struggles to conceal her homosexuality and eating disorder, c

Feb 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Unbearable Lightness: A Story...

Publishers Weekly

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The author, an actor in movies and TV, (including Ally McBeal, Arrested Development, and Better Off Ted), model, and gay rights advocate, writes that playing the role of heterosexual while fantasizin

Oct 25 2010 | Read Full Review of Unbearable Lightness: A Story...

Book Reporter

After reading UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS, I feel quite certain that its author would fully understand why I am beginning my response to her book by telling a story of my own;

Nov 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Unbearable Lightness: A Story...

USA Today

Resist the urge to roll your eyes at Portia de Rossi .

Nov 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Unbearable Lightness: A Story...

The Sydney Morning Herald

Rate Unbearable Lightness with 3.5 stars .

Feb 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Unbearable Lightness: A Story...

Diets in Review

Portia de Rossi discussed her eating disorder on Oprah yesterday, admitting that she once restricted herself to as little as 300 calories per day.

Nov 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Unbearable Lightness: A Story...

Shelf Awareness

Front Porch interviewed four booksellers "to examine the many forces that shape literature, and to highlight the perceptive and passionate people to whom we owe the books on our shelves."

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andreaneronero@gmail.com 13 May 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5


andreaneronero@gmail.com 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list