Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain - Portia de Rossi (Review and Giveaway!)

5 Stars!!!!!
“I didn’t decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. Being as thin as possible was a way to make the job of being an actress easier . . .”
Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work—first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.
In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn’t enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point.
Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.
From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues.
In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, Unbearable Lightness is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.

Portia de Rossi is an Australian-born actress best known for her roles in the television series Ally McBeal, Arrested Development, and most recently Better Off Ted. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife, Ellen DeGeneres.

Wow, where do I even begin? This was such and incredible book.
This was not one of those "paint a pretty picture so it makes me look good" kind of books. This book was so honest and open. I really don't know how she did it. She must have been cringing embarrassingly when she wrote it. One reviewer on Goodreads said that it was not edited and polished enough - I totally disagree! I think that would have ruined the feeling of the book. The way this was written shows her state of mind. She was very sick, not thinking clearly, scattered, confused and the style of writing shows this. I have a renewed respect for and applaud Portia for opening up her soul to bare all in this story of her struggle with her illness.
I was a HUGE fan of "Ally McBeal"! I seriously never missed a show! And I hated her character "Nell" who didn't? She was the office B****! And she played it well! In watching that show I never would have guessed in a million years that she was struggling so. She had the lowest of lowest self esteem and she came off as just the opposite. I guess that makes her a really great actress. The book is not only about her anorexia and her stint on "Ally" it is also about hiding her sexuality. She was so afraid to let anyone know she was a Lesbian for fear of loosing her job. She actually had several boyfriends just to make it look normal. Long before she even met Ellen DeGeneres she looked up to her for being able to be who she really was, wishing she could "come out" like Ellen did.
About 3/4 of the way through the book she was down to only 82 lbs. she was eating only 300 calories a day! This was what she ate in one whole day -
Breakfast - 2/3 packet of oatmeal
Lunch - 1/3 can of tuna with butter spray
Dinner - a spoonful of ground turkey with butter spray
Dessert - spoonful of Jello with butter spray
(She loved the calorieless butter spray!)
At one point the tabloids were rumoring Anorexia. But these were the thoughts of a very sick women
"Some of them said I was Anorexic. It wasn't true. At 100 pounds I was way too heavy to be Anorexic."
She was proud of her achievements and wanted her family and friends to be proud of her weightloss. In a lot of books I scream - Why doesn't anybody do something? Why didn't people try to help her? In Portia's story - they did. Her family was worried about her. At one point when she was down to 89 lbs her brother broke down.
"Porshe..." He cried harder. As he inhaled to say what he was leading up to say, his breath caught, making short staccato sounds. "You're gonna die."
Her Mother, brother and friends made her promise to start eating, but she had everyone fooled. It wasn't until she passed out on a movie set that she was forced to get help.

This book was good on every page! I loved it and really felt a connection to her. I just wanted to hold her frail little body in my arms and hug her.

YES! I am giving away my beautiful hard cover copy of this book!

* To win a copy of this amazing book, please fill out the form below.
* Please US & Canada only.
And please only enter once!
* Winner will be chosen on 3/26/12
* Winner will have 48 hrs. to respond.


  1. I totally agree with you that this is a great read. I didn't watch Ally McBeal but reading Portia's story did move me. It also opened my eyes to what goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood. Grat review, Sally x

  2. Beautiful review. I agree with you 100%. I hope the winner of the book loves it as much as we did.

  3. I have heard noting but amazing things about this book, and applaud Portia for writing it. I recently read a book where one of the characters has a problem with anorexia, and it was heartbreaking and scary. I can't imagine what it must be like to be that thin and eat that little. Sounds like a very compelling read, and your review on it was exceptional.

  4. Wow, this sounds like a great story. She is such an amazing actress and beautiful woman. How anyone could survive on 300 cal is just unbelievable. Great review!

  5. Oh wow, this seems like an awesome read. I got chills reading this review, especially when you wrote the excerpt from what her brother said. Definitely going on my TBR list.

  6. Portia de Rossi has always been someone who has fascinated me ever since I first saw her on Ally McBeal. I would love to read her story.

  7. This sounds so interesting. I think the hearing an actress talking about the disease is even more interesting.

  8. love to win this book sounds like a really good read great give away