Malnourished: A Memoir of Sisterhood and Hunger

Forthcoming November 2019

How do you begin to process your sister starving herself to death? For Cinthia Ritchie, writing about it was her method of coping, a means of searching for answers to long-unspoken questions.

After her sister died due to complications from an eating disorder, no one in Ritchie’s family knew how to talk about what had happened, so no one did. It was as if she died twice, once in real life and again in family memory.

In this stunning memoir, Ritchie traces the tragedy of her sister’s too-short life back to its beginning—their stepfather’s Pennsylvania farm, where both girls hungered for approval and affection during long, languid days and yearned for protection through endless, dark nights. She pierces the veins of her own life, along with its bones of truth and muscles of denial, interrogating the ways she likewise resisted the force of her own appetites.

Malnourished  dives deep into what we dare not speak—secrets, obsessions, deviations—demonstrating in gripping, lyrical prose how the damage done early in one’s life colors the taste of everything to come. And how the mouth filled with blood and stones might finally yield to gasps of clear air, discovering the texture of open terrain, a roadmap of back trails leading to a kind of recovery.

Malnourished is a book for anyone who has ever experienced lack, and for anyone who has nevertheless loved.