Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi

Unbearable LightnessUnbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi
Published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Australian-born actress Portia de Rossi is best known for her role on the hit TV show Ally McBeal and for being married to superstar Ellen DeGeneres.  Portia’s life looks absolutely perfect from the outside, yet things were not always so great for her.  For many years, she struggled with the competition in Hollywood to be the tiniest girl in the business, and dealt with both anorexia and bulimia in pursuit of that goal.  Unbearable Lightness is the story of how her eating disorder ruled her life, and how she was eventually able to heal from it and become the person she is today.

I must admit to not knowing a lot about Portia de Rossi, but Ellen DeGeneres is one of my favorite celebrities (I think she is just beyond awesome, truly) and have seen Portia in the spotlight ever since the two of them got together.  From what the public sees of their relationship, they seem like a great couple and the love they have for one another is crystal clear.  When I found out that de Rossi had a memoir coming out about her eating disorder I knew I had to read it.

The one thing that wouldn’t stop running through my mind when I finished reading this book is how unbelievably courageous Portia de Rossi is for writing it.  She really put it all out there – eating disorders are not pleasant things, and she was unafraid to show her readers the raw truth of what she went through during this time in her life.  I mean, this book is serious.  It is scary and sad and so many times throughout the book I just wanted to reach into the pages and give Portia a hug.  She put herself through hell – but what really matters is that she got herself out, too.

While the book is incredibly raw and at times difficult to read, there is a beauty and a light in Portia de Rossi that shines all the way through the book.  She really dug herself out of this deep, dark place, and I so admire her for how far she’s come.  Unbearable Lightness is not an easy read, but it is an extremely rewarding one, as the reader gets to see her go through this devastating disorder only to come out on the other side victorious.

Also, the writing in this book is really good.  Much better than any other celebrity memoir I can recall.  I’m not sure if she had help writing it or if Portia herself is just a great writer, but either way, the quality of the writing made the reading experience that much more enjoyable.

I very highly recommend Unbearable Lightness.  The topic of eating disorders is not an entirely pleasant one, but Portia de Rossi tells her story with such courage, honesty, and grace that this book is not one to pass up.

16 thoughts on “Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi”

  1. I didn’t know much about de Rossi until she married Ellen either. I had no idea she struggled with an eating disorder until this book came out. It sounds like a must read!

  2. I adored Portia at the height of Ally McBeal and I didn’t know what happened to her after the series. It’s inspiring how she was able to share her experiences through her book (I actually never thought that she could write and inspire others!) and let other people learn from it. Thank you for the review. I really thought all the while this is just one of those vanity-driven books by Hollywood celebs. Your review just proved me wrong 🙂

    1. I am usually skeptical of celebrity memoirs too, but when I saw Portia on the Oprah show I decided I needed to read her book. And I’m so glad I did!

  3. I looked up the audio and see that de Rossi narrates it herself, so perhaps I’ll give it a try that way. I’m more familiar with her as Lindsay Bluth Funke on Arrested Development, one of my favorite (cancelled) TV shows.

  4. I have a massive girl-crush on Portia de Rossi, and I think she and Ellen DeGeneres are the cutest couple ever. They are obviously so crazy about each other. Plus Portia de Rossi cracks me up on Arrested Development and Better Off Ted.

    1. They ARE the cutest couple ever! I sort of have a crush on Ellen, actually – she’s just so awesome and happy and hysterical and confident! What’s not to love?

  5. She and Ellen are my favorite celebrity couple. I was skeptical about this book and was on the fence about it but think I’ll ask for it from my library…thanks!

  6. I too love Ellen and watched Portia’s interview on her show. I’ve been thinking of reading this one and your review convinced me that it’s certainly worth my time!

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