Fourth Estate has bought a “ground-breaking” new memoir by journalist Hadley Freeman, telling the story of how she suffered and recovered from anorexia nervosa as a teenager.
Louise Haines bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Georgia Garrett at RCW. Publication of the currently untitled book will be in spring 2023. It follows House of Glass (Fourth Estate), Freeman's acclaimed story of her family in the Second World War.
As a teenager, Freeman suffered from severe anorexia and was hospitalised multiple times. Ever since she started referencing this part of her life in her columns in the Guardian, she has received regular correspondence from other women and girls suffering from the illness, as well as their parents, asking how she recovered and if there is hope for them, too.
The publisher said: “In this book, Hadley will tell the story of her illness and recovery, how it felt to spiral downwards, slowly then quickly, becoming suddenly unreachable to those who loved her most. She will look at what eventually helped her, and what very much didn’t, and what lessons she learned that could be invaluable to others going through this ordeal today. She will also interview the doctors who helped her (and talk about the ones who didn’t) as well as other experts in the field, looking at how treatments have changed since she was in hospital, what new discoveries have been made about the illness, what the high rates of it say about the mental health of girls and women today, and what those who love them can do to help.”
Freeman said: “My memories of being ill are sharper in my mind than what I did yesterday, and one of the many things that I lacked back then was hope: I did not believe it was possible to recover, or worth it to try. My hope with this book is that I will show those suffering similarly that it really truly is.”
Haines added: “Hadley’s proposal made me truly understand for the first time what it feels like to suffer from a serious eating disorder. This will be a ground-breaking memoir of the illness and will be of incalculable help to so many. I am proud to be publishing it.”