Insatiable: a young mother's struggle with anorexia

In feeding her addiction, Erica Rivera wasted away. There was nothing she wouldn’t try: starving herself, exercising obsessively, chewing and spitting, binging and purging. If she wasn’t the thinnest person in the room, she was nothing…

At twenty-four years old, Erica Rivera appeared to have it all: a B.A., two daughters, a successful husband, a house in the suburbs—and a great body. But under the surface, Erica was struggling with an addiction. What began with a diet to lose the baby weight after her second daughter’s birth spiraled into a self-destructive obsession with dieting, bingeing, purging, exercising, and, ultimately, anorexia.

Although the addiction to her eating disorder, and the depression that stemmed from it, nearly cost Erica her life, it wasn’t until her very young daughters began to imitate her actions that she decided to get help. Tracing her disordered eating and body-image patterns across three generations of women in her family, Erica was able to get to the root of her own problems and show her daughters where happiness truly lies: in loving oneself.

Insatiable is the raw, candid, and strangely uplifting story of one woman’s plunge into the depths of addiction and her fragile fight to climb back out. With plainspoken sincerity and self-effacing humor, Erica Rivera chronicles a lifelong battle with obsession, depression, and self-hatred. Though her road to recovery has not been easy, Erica is reassuring in her honesty—and inspirational in her triumph.

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"This is a deeply felt, moving account of turning obsessions into passions, of becoming free to meet love on its own terms. Written in an original style and propelling structure, INSATIABLE reveals the heart of a young woman, struggling to face her demons. The triumph is that she managed to become whole." - Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones

"Erica Rivera has written a fierce, difficult, honest book about living with, an almost dying from, food disorders and anorexia. As readers, we experience the painful, intimate details of a life taken over by the author's desperate struggle to make herself so thin she becomes barely a shadow. We see the enormous cost of this illness, and feel gratitude and a sense of hope as Ms. Rivera takes on her demons, and finds her way back to a life worth living." - Deborah Keenan, poet and professor

"The most candid, poignant memoir of war with one’s body that I’ve ever read...Insatiable is dark, yet richly funny; raw yet refreshingly candid. Somehow, Rivera weaves a story that is both terribly sad, and, at times, absolutely hilarious." - Katie Drummond,

"Rivera is to be applauded for her unflinching look at the deeply unpleasant details of her affliction." - Laurie Hertzel, book critic for the Star Tribune

"A beautiful writer." - Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

"A gripping account of life inside an eating disorder and how one individual escaped through the bonds of motherhood, Insatiable is an inspiring personal memoir of turning struggle into triumph." - Ira M. Sacker, M.D., author of Regaining Your Self and Dying to Be Thin

"Insatiable is not, like any memoir about an eating disorder, an easy read. Rivera is able to hide her affliction from many around her, including her parents (despite a teenage eating disorder episode), but her daughters bluntly call her on her issues. Rivera does not gloss over these moments. It's to her credit as a writer that some of the most beautifully written scenes are the most unnerving. I've read many eating disorder memoirs and while, to a degree, they all echo each other, due to the nature of the subject matter, Rivera's stands out both in covering the children and family life, and the nuance of the writing. While extreme, Rivera's body dysmorphia will also, sadly, be familiar to many women." - Rachel Kramer Bussel, author and editor

"Insatiable is a memoir of Erica Rivera’s heartrending struggle with an eating disorder as a young mother of two daughters. Rivera, a local Twin Cities author, tells her story with intense candor, engaging humor, and at times, in overwhelmingly stark detail. Her story is a piercing and vivid recount of the very real consequences of eating disorders—isolation, depression, physical deterioration and struggle for life. Her story is poignantly raw and vulnerable; and at times feel like too much of both. Rivera treats her story with the great respect and somberness the struggle deserves, while at the same time using her finely-honed creative writing skills to deliver unexpected and sometimes tear-inducing humor. Her skill as a writer is evident and her ability to take a hard look at her life is admirable. Insatiable is painful to read and at the same time hard to put down. But, for all the difficult details, it is a story of hope. It is a sure demonstration that light can be seen in the darkest hours." - Jillian Croll, Director of Education, Research and Program Development at the Emily Program

"Very real and raw." -

"The writing is awesome." - Vincent Zandri, author of As Catch Can