BOOK REVIEWS: The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
September/October 2008 Volume 19, Number 5
©2008 Gürze Books

The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders

Supporting Self-Esteem, Healthy Eating, and Positive Body Image at Home
Author: Marcia Herrin and Nancy Matsumoto
381 pages, $18.95
©2007 Gürze Books, LLC
Order online at

The first edition of this Parent’s Guide was one of the more original, timely, widely read and successful books of its type, well received and reviewed, and greatly appreciated by large numbers of distraught and perplexed parents and other family members. Along with many other clinicians, I routinely referred parents to the first edition (2002). The parents eagerly read the book, and were grateful for the information and guidance it provided.

When the second edition of such a book appears, you know it’s going to be good, and that something new-fangled has emerged to warrant the time and effort required to write a fresh book. Dr. Herrin, a nutritionist who founded the Dartmouth College Eating Disorders Prevention, Education and Treatment Program, realized that she had more to say to parents. The important new information derives mainly from experiences she’s had over the past few years with the Maudsley Approach, which employs coached family meals for patients with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. This work, most recently explicated, disseminated and promulgated in two highly regarded books by Drs. James Lock and Daniel LeGrange, has been previously reviewed inEDR. The revisions in Dr. Herrin’s new book include four chapters that review her experiences and strategies for implementing these methods, as well as new or revised chapters on communications, medical consequences, advice for siblings, relapse prevention and boys at risk, among others.

The book is clearly written, appropriately focused, and targeted on the literate but nonprofessional lay audience for which it is intended. Families and patients alike will profit from the tables, clinical stories, and bullet points that emphasize the “take- home” lessons, issues to ponder, and suggestions for specific action.

I suspect that this second edition will serve newly troubled families at least as well as the previous edition served their predecessors. I certainly intend to suggest that the families I see read it. My hope is that within the decade our field will have continued to make progress and sufficiently great strides to require Dr. Herrin to get busy on a third edition. That would be nice for all concerned.


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