Starvation Mode by Elissa Washuta



In Starvation Mode, Seattle’s Elissa Washuta—author of 2014’s genre-defying memoir of ethnic identity, sexual trauma, bipolar disorder, and independence, My Body Is a Book of Rules—crafts a personal accounting of her struggle for culinary control, and presents the guidelines she followed as she attempted to shape her body and mind through the food she consumed.

The book’s seemingly simple structure (a series of rules to eat and live by) contrasts with the powerful way she pulls readers into a complicated story of our needs and the cultural pressures that shape us.

Starvation Mode is absorbing and wonderful—the rules that Elissa Washuta writes here become an attempt at creating order within the chaos of one’s life. What is she allowed to do and what is forbidden? What can she force upon herself and what is impossible? In this book, love is what happens when one person consumes another, and a fish can be brought back to life by holding a cold spoon against its heart. Seeing the physical world through Washuta’s eyes is a gift.”
—Chelsea Hodson, author of Tonight I’m Someone Else

“Elissa Washuta’s Starvation Mode is the most cogent and profound document I’ve ever read about American women’s disturbing relationships with food—a subject that I thought had been covered to exhaustion. Going beyond the discourse of “disorder,” Washuta examines the diets and food compulsions so many women use to control both our bodies and minds, to both fortify and punish ourselves. This is a brilliant little book, and one I’ve read again and again; it illuminates our societal sicknesses and leaves me feeling less alone.”
—Alice Bolin, author of Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession

Starvation Mode‘s peculiar structure asks us to closely examine what we hunger for, consume, and how we create and ingest meaning. Washuta takes important risks, ones which I wonder whether the broader readership has an appetite for, but perhaps should cultivate.” —Portland Mercury

Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. Her first book, My Body Is a Book of Rules, was named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Elissa is an assistant professor of English at the Ohio State University.

52 page chapbook, $6  (originally published in the Instant Future eBook series)

Pub date: August 24th, 2018.