My Demon’s Name is Ed by Danah Khalil

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My Demon’s Name is Ed

Danah Khalil, Author

Second Story Press, Fiction, Oct. 4, 2016

Suitable for Ages: 12-16

Themes: Anorexia Nervosa, Eating Disorders, Peer Pressure, Mental Health, Self-Esteem, Courage, Hope

Synopsis: Danah’s eating disorder has a personality — it’s a demon she calls Ed, the voice in her head that undermines her self-esteem and her perception of the world. How can she explain to her family and friends that even when she tries to develop healthier eating and exercising habits, there is a demon wriggling inside her mind, determining her every step?

ED: “There is nothing wrong while I am in control.”

“You see? It is “normal” to lose weight. I told you. Yes, I am always right. You must keep going. Keep going.

While Danah knows that what she is doing is unhealthy, the validation and sense of control that her “demon” gives her begins to win out over everything and everyone else.

Why I like this book:

Danah Khalil has written compelling novel based on her own struggle with an eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. She is 14 years old when her dieting begins. It takes guts to share something so profoundly emotional and deeply personal. I applaud Danah for bravely sharing her realistic story. Her suffering is visceral. Her voice is completely authentic. The solitude and misery she plummets into is dark and seductive. She calls the demon who lives in her head, “Ed.” And, with every journal entry, Ed’s voice  (written in italics,) is there to coax, command and control her every thought and action.

Danah tells her story entirely through diary entries she started at age 14, at the beginning of the anorexia through her recovery at age 18. Although it is an interesting way to watch the progression of her anorexia, the entries become very focused on meal plans, weighing herself, daily workouts, anger towards her parents, and some lovely poetry. This is the isolation she creates for herself. My only sadness is that I never really get to know Danah, her family and friends, even after she enters a treatment facility. I hoped her therapy would reveal more family interaction.

Danah’s story is a hopeful story for families with a child who has an anorexia, or for anyone who is close to someone with an eating disorder. Although Danah recovers, she acknowledges that it will be with her forever and she will need to stay vigilant. Many years ago I worked with teens and young women with eating disorders and it brought back many memories. My Demon’s Name is Ed  is an excellent book that will alert parents, siblings, friends, and teachers to the earliest symptoms of eating disorders and seek help.

Resources: The book includes information on common symptoms and book recommendations. I recommend that readers also check out the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA),  which provides information about the eating disorders, support groups, treatment options and stories of hope.

Check other Middle Grade review links on author Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

18 thoughts on “My Demon’s Name is Ed by Danah Khalil

    • Yes, The Best Little Girl in the World is about 40 years old. So much more is known about anorexia and other eating disorders. It’s such a complex and frightening disorder for families. I just happened to be a consultant on that movie with Jennifer Jason Leigh because of my work with the disorder at a time when doctors were identifying it. Did you read the Golden Cage?

  1. Interesting choice for the cover design. I am glad to learn of this book which addresses a problem that is more common than we would like to think.

    • Yes, it is more common than many realize. Doesn’t get the press like it used to. Some of the individuals I knew with the disorder recovered, two died, and others have learned to manage it, remain healthy and keep it at bay over many years.

  2. I know a young woman with this disorder who survived, thank goodness. Yes, it’s still an issue. Glad to hear there are still books about this, and yes, the author is brave for using her own diary entries. The only book I’ve read about eating disorders is WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson.

    • Unfortunately it still is an issue for many teens/young women. So many things can set it in motion, peer pressure, a divorce or death, teasing, and the relentless pressure to be thin. I’ve known a great many teens with anorexia and the other eating disorders over the years. I even knew two girls who died. Some recover, others continue to struggle with it in many ways. So, this is an important book. And the organization (NEDA) I listed, is an excellent resource for parents.

  3. What a powerful title. I have to read this book. One day I will also weave my own experiences with this into a novel. It is still such a tragic struggle for many teens.

    • The title is powerful. Rukhsana Khan was Danah’s mentor. Would love to see you weave this theme into a novel. I don’t remember discussing this subject, with you, but I wondered. I founded a national support and educational organization for teens with eating disorders and their parents in the late 70s. It merged with another organization and is going quite strong. Interesting to be involved when so little was known about anorexia. So, this topic is dear to my heart because I knew so many individuals who recovered and a few who died.

  4. I’ve heard that eating disorders are on the rise, so any books that bring more awareness are so important! This sounds like a story that needs to be told.

  5. This sounds like a very important book! I myself know one of my amazing friends doesn’t like her body so much, and might have had an eating disorder. I’m really really glad there is a realistic book portraying that. It’s important for people to know that they aren’t alone. Thanks for the rec!

    • Yes, I agree that it is important people know they aren’t alone. It is very hard to approach a friend about an eating disorder, especially if they are in the midst of it. I just happened to work with teens and women with eating disorders many years ago and have a lot of insight into the disorder.

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