Guest Post: This Book Versus That Book

Lisa deNikolitsLisa’s book, The Hungry Mirror, tells the fictional story of a woman who starves until she finds herself trapped into a seeming-sanctuary cage of addictions walled by self-hatred and filled with doubt. She discovers the value of size zero is also zero. This novel doesn’t do the typical adolescent anorexia thing.

Instead, the character is an adult who continues to function as a designer and wife despite being anorexic, bulimic and obsessed with her body image.

About Lisa de Nikolits: Originally from South Africa, Lisa has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She also lived and worked in the U.S.A., Sydney, Australia, and London, England. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and contributed to various international anthologies. She has been an art director on Vogue, Vogue Living, marie claire and Cosmopolitan.

This Book Versus That Book by Lisa de Nikolits

“I’m writing a book on how to bounce back from bankruptcy,” my editor friend told me. “I’ve done the first chapter.”

“I’m doing a cookbook, you wouldn’t like it, I use a lot of oil,” my art director friend said. “I’ve finished two chapters.”

“I’m writing a book on being a life coach,” my women’s group facilitator said. “I haven’t started yet, I’m taking the summer off to focus on it.”

“Write a screenplay that I can make into a movie,” an editor friend advised.

“I’m writing young adult novels, and I came this close…” a freelance copyreader said.

“The money’s in murder, mystery and crime. Write a bestseller,” my brother-in-law insisted at the dinner table.

“Tell everybody about your book,” the account executive said to the creative director at a meeting about a photoshoot.

The creative director flushed red, said she had only thumb-nailed the intro really, and changed the subject.

Everybody’s writing a book, it seems.

It took me fifteen years to develop my book from a quickly scribbled short story to a 344-page finished product. And mine proved to be a novel on women, eating disorders, body image and the like.

“Self-help always sells,” my family said approvingly.

Uh, no, it not self-help. Not by any means. It’s an up-close and personal look at the world of adult women who suffer from a range of eating disorders.
Not an easy book to write. Not an easy book to read.

“An unconventional treatment of eating disorders, which are often presented in fiction as merely an adolescent phase. De Nikolits shows how such disorders can, in fact, continue into adulthood. The sufferer appears fully functioning, while in reality, their body obsession permeates every facet of their lives… an uncomfortable read…” says a review in the May issue of Canada’s Quill & Quire. But, it adds, “a thoughtful and strong conclusion.”

The Hungry MirrorDoug O’Neill, Canadian Living Magazine commented, “In The Hungry Mirror, Lisa de Nikolits cuts straight to the bone and slices open the gut-wrenching hurts of a circle of self-conscious (and mostly self-critical) characters who are obsessed with weight and body image. De Nikolits takes us to the dark side of a Bridget Jones world where cliques of media-savvy women gather round the water cooler – but where real pain is exposed in broad daylight. The pages of The Hungry Mirror are a gluttony of references to bulimia, calorie counts, and bingeing, but de Nikolits’ real message is about cravings – cravings for self-acceptance, cravings for love.”

Many were the times I hoped the book wouldn’t ever be published. Did I have the courage to be the banner-bearer of this message?

Oh, far easier to write a murder-mystery, coming of age, self-help, cookbook that could be made into a screenplay and movie.

But something about this book wanted to live. This book, The Hungry Mirror, climbed and clawed its way to life, its message insisting on making it to the finish line of being printed.

And there it is, my voice, my message. This is the book I wrote. Not that one, but this.

How do you deal with comments from family and friends about a dream or project? Or share your thoughts about book authoring.

6 thoughts on “Guest Post: This Book Versus That Book”

  1. My book is gonna get written one day.
    Just as soon as my uneducable Shih-Tzu decides to get on board with the program and cut out all his scratchin’ on the door to go out every five minutes. In. Out. In. Out. The dog is mentally ill, I tell you.
    Also, my husband will need to stop distractin’ me with his redneck duct-tape engineering projects because there is no WAY a real writer could concentrate with all THAT goin’ on, I can assure you.
    And the kids. The kids will have to quit their ridiculous demands for dinner and such. How can I be expected to write a book AND stir the spaghetti noodles? You tell me.
    My book IS gonna get written. Of course it is.


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