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Did this book cover go terribly wrong?

July 29, 2009 | 12:41 pm

Notallblackgirls Stephanie Covington Armstrong, a playwright and screenwriter, has faced more than her share of challenges: poverty, abuse, foster care. And an eating disorder. And the face of that disorder didn't look like her own. Armstrong was an African American struggling with bulimia, often portrayed as an illness affecting white females.

All of which sounds like the makings of an interesting memoir, and Covington will read from it at L.A.'s Book Soup on Saturday at 8 p.m.

But has Covington's book, "Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat: A Story of Bulimia," gotten a raw design deal?

Bulimia, an eating disorder, includes a range of dieting behaviors taken to extremes: fasting, exercise, use of diuretics and laxatives and self-induced vomiting.

It is this last behavior that the cover portrays, with two fingers jutting up from the bottom edge. As if there is a hand inside the book, ready to induce vomiting in the reader.

I consider myself lucky to never have had an eating disorder, but I can recognize an instrument of self-destructive behavior when I see one.

Are those too fingers as immediately recognizable as a vomiting-tool to you as they are to me? In the context of this book, aren't they horribly graphic?

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Lawrence Hill Books

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