> Emmeline Clein – Dead Weight (book review) - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Emmeline Clein – Dead Weight (book review)

Content note: discussion of disordered eating

Emmeline Clein’s upcoming non-fiction work, Dead Weight, confronts a painful, confusing aspect of the human experience that’s found, in varying degrees of covert or overt costume – and almost always embodied by unfairly felt shame and exhaustion – in almost every nook and cranny of life.

It’s found in the doctor’s waiting room, at weddings or on school bathroom floors; in films, music, TV, and literature; or in the agonising walks to and from the subway to meet friends for an evening meal, laxatives painfully waiting in hand.

We call it disordered eating, and have collectively examined its many tired faces from all sorts of chairs – sitting in it personally, hovering behind, or perching somewhere strange and unnameable in between.

It’s a notoriously difficult topic to approach due to its emotional, medical, social, political, and popculture complexities, but Clein has here managed to distil and dissect a stunning array of unaddressed conversations, talking points and dilemmas about eating disorders into smart, unafraid prose carried by a compassionate understanding of the illnesses at hand.

Exploring the sensitivities of disordered eating through stories and statistics, paired with sharp personal insights into past and current depictions of disordered eating across the wider cultural landscape, Dead Weight recounts Clein’s own experience alongside the tales of other women.

Expertly formed to speak directly to those who need it most, Dead Weight was not written for a faceless or theorised audience, but for the rich tapestry of people affected by disordered eating and its many impacts.

A work heavily threaded with compassion and a burning need to explore every tentative angle, Dead Weight is a must-read for anyone wanting to contemplate the nuances of disordered eating from a vulnerable and unavoidably human perspective; a body of work you might wish strongly to place into the hands of your younger self years ago. A beautiful book from a rare and highly skilled essayist.

Dead Weight will be published by Picador in April 2024

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