Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and…

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain (edition 2010)

by Portia de Rossi

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6504314,827 (3.86)14
Title:Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain
Authors:Portia de Rossi
Info:Atria (2010), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, Biography/Memoir
Tags:memoir, kindle

Work details

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


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
read 1/14,
a very brave book - written by a model and actress, portia describes in detail what her life as an anorexic/bulimic was like - and what a crazy, painful obsessive life it was - her honesty and courage in writing about issues that caused such shame is to be commended and her willingness to share her story will help so many others - i found the book to be very well written and insightful. ( )
  njinthesun | Apr 15, 2014 |
This memoir was fascinating and hard to put down. While it's not shocking that such a beautiful and talented actress can have had so many insecurities, it's also somewhat surprising. We're used to seeing only the public face of celebrities, and the intense pressure that they are under must be unbearable at times. To add the absurd obsession we have with weight in this country would certainly only fuel the fire of somebody predisposed to an eating disorder.

That said, I did find that this memoir glossed over pretty much all of the recovery aspects of an eating disorder. I felt like I was reading about a glamorous illness, turned the page and she was all better. I know that recovery is raw, gritty and painful. But you can't get better without it. And otherwise it seems like having an eating disorder is something that you can have and struggle with, and one day will go away. Unfortunately, that's just not true. ( )
  lemontwist | Jan 6, 2014 |
I love books. With fiction ones each is its own world, if you're feeling good you, the reader can play the hero. If you're pissed, play the villian who wants to destroy the world. With non-fiction you can be let in on real life experiences and places that you could never physically be allowed in by yourself.

I have read so many different sorts of fiction and non-fiction and things in between books, I chuckled and laugh at some, get pissed at others, but I have never, not even reading a book like 3000 Degrees (about the Worchester Warehouse Fire of 1999) gotten anywhere near tears. Guess there's a first time for everything.

I will say that at the beginning, part of the reason I wanted to read this book was because I Think Ellen DeGeneres is a very cool woman. The thing is, but the end of the book I Realized, nope, DeGeneres is cool, but de Rossi is so much cooler (and then if, as she said in the interviews, it's true that she wrote the book herself, her coolness just broke the coolness meter).

One part I really thought was interesting was how right before the epilogue they combined the pictures of de Rossi and the text. I also found the tone interesting. A lot of times 'celebrity' memoirs seem self-aggrandizing or they seem like large apology tomes. This didn't seem like either to me, just a memoir by a person (who happens to be sorta famous in most circles) who wanted to perhaps help other people who are going through something like she went through or at least plant a seed in the family or friends of people in trouble as she was. Six stars out of five for sure. Mostly because aside from the amazing narrative it was outstandingly written. ( )
  DanieXJ | Dec 3, 2013 |
Three words flow through my mind as I read ‘Unbearable Lightness’—heartbreaking, mesmerising and hope. In the book's opening paragraph, “He doesn’t wait until I’m awake. He comes into my unconscious to find me, to pull me out. He seizes my logical mind and disables it with fear,” I hear all those words in-between these lines.

That Portia De Rossi had the strength to write ‘Unbearable Lightness’, her personal witness to the mental disorder anorexia nervosa, adds another word to the list—courage.
When Karen Carpenter died in 1983, everyone talked about anorexia, the disease that claimed her. It was the first time I had ever heard those words and I wondered why someone with the voice and face of an angel, with all her success, would starve themselves to death.

Over the years, the covers of magazines have paraded celebrities and models who have struggled with this disease, the most famous being Princess Diana. It’s almost as though anorexia seeks out the most beautiful and the most talented to torment. Each time an unearthly, skeletal figure stares back from the pages, I wonder what goes on in their mind to succumb to a vision that requires the punishing of their bodies until they resemble concentration camp victims.

Portia De Rossi has finally answered the question of ‘why’ in ‘Unbearable Lightness’. We follow her from when the disease first strikes, through her struggle to survive whilst achieving all of her dreamed success, to the writing of the book.

In writing in first person present tense, we are inside her head, uniquely experiencing her life and her relationship with food, not as a reader, but as a passenger to the insanity of her perspective. Her misinterpretations of simple compliments such as, ‘You looked like a normal, healthy woman,’ to mean she is ‘fat’ to her constantly feeling ugly, overweight and unlovable is heart-wrenching. As she struggles to cope with her gay sexuality and the fear of discovery, whilst maintaining her successful career, starring on ‘Ally McBeal’, we sympathise. We come to know her and we feel her anguish as if she is our beloved sister.

One of the most refreshing aspects of this book is that the story begins at the time Portia lands her role on the hit show, with short, flashbacks to her childhood and school life inserted amidst her Hollywood life. ‘Unbearable Lightness’ serves her Hollywood Life, dessert first, but still gives us enough background childhood detail along the way, to allow us to understand Portia and the roots of her illness.

My recommendation is that every parent of a teenager read this book and then give it to their child. Portia comments, "I made the mistake of thinking that what I look like is more important than who I am.” After reading this book, it is clear this is the one true lesson we must teach our children. Portia De Rossi wrote this book to liberate others imprisoned by this illness.
Buy “Unbearable Lightness”, read through the heartbreak, share its mesmerising message and spread the promise of hope it contains.

Thankyou to Hardie Grant Book Club for supplying Unbearable Lightness. This review written for Hardie Grant Book Club For more of my reviews and author interviews visit http://anadventureinreading.blogspot.com.au/ ( )
  SusanMayWriter | Oct 1, 2013 |
I appreciated the brutal honesty with which Portia wrote, and I can't think of another celeb bio I've read written with as much candor. However, I found it way too detailed about her anorexia and not nearly detailed enough about her recovery. The one is written as she thought as an anorexic, even though she has recovered, and it is sort of jarring that her disordered thinking is written as fact, but then she never really addresses just how wrong that thinking was. I found it weird to go into details of insults that others had leveled at her about her appearance, but then not to say later 'So who cares if that person thought that about me? Just because some idiot has an opinion it doesn't mean it's a fact'.

I think it's a better book to read to understand the thought processes of a person with an eating disorder rather than to look to for answers. ( )
  cherrybob_omb | Sep 23, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Known for her roles on the hit TV shows "Ally McBeal" and "Arrested Development," de Rossi delivers a revelatory and searing account of the years she spent secretly suffering from bulimia, all the while living under the glare of Hollywood's bright lights.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
7 avail.
288 wanted
4 pay4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.86)
0.5 1
1 1
2 6
2.5 3
3 35
3.5 16
4 78
4.5 8
5 36


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,774,553 books! | Top bar: Always visible