Book Recommendation: Unbearable Lightness

12 Oct

Published November 2nd, 2010 by Simon & Schuster
272 Pages

Everyone, women and men alike, worry about their weight. Whether you’re naturally slim, or admittedly overweight, it’s something we all think about. How we can lose another pound or, in some cases, how to gain one. Portia de Rossi’s memoir is for anyone who’s ever worried what the world thought of them, or stared in a mirror and wondered if they were good enough, whether they were pretty/handsome enough. It’s a book everyone can relate to.

I think sometimes we forget that celebrities have problems. We see them on TV portraying a fictional person, or at an award show where they’re made up and dressed in clothes most of us could never afford. From our vantage point, they lead perfect lives. But this book reminds us that they’re human, too. That the pressure they feel to portray these people is real, and that, like the rest of us, they worry about what they wear, or how they look. If they’ll fit in.

Now, I never watched Ally McBeal as a kid. In fact, I didn’t even know who Portia de Rossi was until I started watching Ellen. She’d occasionally come on the show, and I liked her. Then, one day, I was watching an episode in which Portia was there to promote her new book. Interest piqued, I turned the volume up. She talked about her struggle with eating disorders and her fear of coming out. How her first marriage crumbled, and slowly, how everything else did too. Half the audience was crying, and there I was, sitting alone on my couch on a day I stayed home sick, sniffling and wiping tears away with the rest of them.

A week ago, a copy of Portia’s book fell into my lap, courtesy of one of my coworkers. I’ve spent the last few days with my nose buried in its pages while on the train, and while I cover reception for an hour every afternoon. It’s pretty impossible to put down, and not just because of the subject matter. Besides that, it’s well written to boot, and Portia wrote the entire thing herself. It’s raw, haunting, and in the end, full of hope.

What really gets you, though, are the details. The chipped bowl she’d eat out of so she knew exactly how much food was there. The fact that she ate with chopsticks so that the tuna lasted longer. The whole book is full of these heartbreaking moments, and it just sucks you in further and further. UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS is by far one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. I’ll probably be passing it off as a gift this Christmas, and I definitely need to get my own copy. I’d be proud to have this book on my shelf, and I think you guys would be too.


A former agency intern and lit mag manager, Sammy Bina is now the literary assistant at N.S. Bienstock in New York City. In her free time she’s busy working on two YA novels, and contemplating a third. She tweets a bunch and has a new blog, which you can visit here.


9 Responses to “Book Recommendation: Unbearable Lightness”

  1. Julie Eshbaugh October 12, 2011 at 6:42 AM #

    Great find, Sammy! This is definitely going on my TBR list. 🙂

    • Sammy Bina October 12, 2011 at 10:13 PM #

      As it should be!

  2. donnagalanti October 12, 2011 at 9:34 AM #

    What a great review and book on an important issue so many of us have struggled with – I know I did. You have convinced me to pick it up and read it – sounds like it is a heartbreaking yet healing kind of book. thanks! I also like Portia, Ally McBeal was one of my fave shows.

    • Sammy Bina October 12, 2011 at 10:14 PM #

      It really is heartbreaking at times, but it really is one of those books I think everyone should read. I absolutely loved it, and for numerous reasons. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Holly October 12, 2011 at 10:54 AM #

    This sounds fantastic, thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely be reading it!

    • Sammy Bina October 12, 2011 at 10:15 PM #

      You’re welcome! Let me know what you think when you read it!

  4. savannahjfoley October 12, 2011 at 2:59 PM #

    I love Portia; big fan since Arrested Development. I’d heard of this book but didn’t know it was a memoir (which I love), or by Portia, so now it’s a definite must-buy. Thanks!

    • Sammy Bina October 12, 2011 at 10:15 PM #

      I love her too. She’s amazing. This book just makes her more so.

      • savannahjfoley October 13, 2011 at 2:21 PM #

        Ended up finishing it last night. Loved it!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: