The night that Calvin Greenlee looked up anorexia online, he misspelled it the first time.
He typed in "anorecia."
In the small, rural North Carolina community where this farm boy lived, he had never seriously encountered an eating disorder before.
But then, he had never known anybody like his girlfriend Stacey before either.
Stacey... the passionate artist with a beautiful spirit that turns an ordinary day into a wonder-filled one, the way a prism splits sunlight into rainbows.
And yet now Stacey is wasting away before Calvin's very eyes. She seems to be turned inward, almost to the point of turning away from him. Even the new pink highlights in her hair don't make up for the sparkle that is missing from eyes.
Running Lean is a tender and truthful story.
Calvin and Stacey are both carrying more pain than they know how to handle yet they understand more about relationships than some people three times their age...
They've been each other's shelter. They've been each other's shoulder.
He's mourned his soldier brother and found peace in her love, and daily joy in the little poems and drawings she creates for him.
Now it is time for him to help her. But helping her may be the hardest thing he has ever done, because just like every woman with anorexia, she doesn't think she has a problem. And there are times when she thinks that Calvin is the problem, for standing in between her and her goals.
It is so frighteningly accurate that parts of it are hard to read. Stacey's inner dialogue is perfectly logical to her anorexia imprisoned mind, and totally crazy to those who are looking at her from the outside.
She lives trying to go two ways at once: she is desperately wants someone to hold her and love her and yet she is determined to control her own life.
She tells herself that she is becoming stronger and more healthy, that this is a diet and not a disorder, and all the while she is dying.
And when she's confronted about that, she tells herself that the critic is the crazy one, that she knows exactly what she's doing, and nobody has any right to boss her life around.
This is a story with the pull of a whirlpool, because it is so real.
Thank you Booksneeze for my review copy.