The amount of popular fiction concerning eating disorders has swelled considerably in the past three decades since its initial publication, but The Best Little Girl in the World is still the most recognizable and venerable title of the lot - a favorite of psychologists and their patients, and an inadvertent classic of the online pro-ana community. This recognition isn't unwarranted: the book is serviceable as both a compelling story and an accurate representation of anorexia nervosa. For a psychotherapist, Levenkron is an able fiction writer. His prose is anything but elegant and much of his dialogue is stilted (common attributes of the competent, transitioning technical writer), but his characters and scenarios are so credibly portrayed that this seems a moot point. Actually, Levenkron's unpretentious style seems refreshing in comparison to most of this book's overwrought thematic successors, and his renowned experience in treating patients suffering from this disorder (Karen Carpenter was actually one of his clients) is evident throughout: the disease's symptoms and treatment are depicted in gruesome detail. Those who are very faint of heart or stomach may find it difficult, but The Best Little Girl in the World is essential reading for laymen of the subject, and anyone who's interested in a medical drama that isn't slathered with mawkish histrionics.
Caveat emptor: although Warner's paperback edition is widely available and the only one in print, it's riddled with typos and printing errors - some commas appear to be periods, while others are omitted entirely.
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