Give Food A Chance

I just realized that I haven't mentioned Dr. Julie O'Toole's new book, Give Food A Chance!

Here I am commenting on other reviews of the book and haven't done my own.

Buy this book! Read this book. If you are a parent dealing with the illness in a loved one, a family friend looking to understand, or a professional seeking to improve your practice: Dr. O'Toole's voice is as honest, clear, and as passionate as she is (we've met). Her depth of experience with helping families through this diagnosis and treatment is unique: her busy clinic is entirely dedicated to eating disorders and their family-inclusive model pre-dates Family-Based Maudsley therapy in this country. She has devoted her career not only to treating but to understanding the illness, and it shows. She brings in history, literature, and a wide range of medical knowledge. She uses analogies and real stories to animate her explanations. I really can't think of a better exploration - not just instructions - on the topic of eating, metabolism, and behaviors around eating. This is also a history of eating disorder treatment and a critique of current practice.

By writing this book for parents, O'Toole is also saying something about what she wants for and expects from parents. This is a book that both demands and offers respect - for the shared responsibility clinicians have with the parents of their patients. It is bracing and refreshing to be offered tough answers, smart answers, and unsparing honesty about the job of being a parent and the things clinicians need to do their job as well.

This is a departure, for books written for parents: good science, a straightforward and literate style, and practical information for parents. I look forward to hearing from those who have read it already!


  1. As a parent, I've read dozens of books on eating disorders. I put Give Food a Chance up there with the very best. O'Toole describes the positive role parents can play in recovery. She emphasizes the need to coordinate the various aspects of treatment, the benefit of giving parents the reasons for doing things a certain way, and she gives a critique of older ways of looking at eating disorders that helps parents place into a historical perspective the current state of thinking about these illnesses. Above all, her book offers parents optimism, empowerment, and confidence.

  2. I have to admit to a secret crush on Dr O'Toole since she mistook me for a clinician.

    Will be buying the book, just because I love her.


  3. I, too, think the book is a must-read. There is a great deal of information written in a format that makes the reading easy. Excellent resource!


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