Cinthia Ritchie’s Malnourished is a Tour de Force

Cinthia Ritchie, BRAG your book!  Start posting reviews or parts of reviews of your new memoir Malnourished on your blog because after I wrote mine I went on Amazon and saw some great reviews over there.


Take a look at Cinthia’s book by clicking the image. It will take you to where you can purchase the book on Amazon AND where you can read reviews. This book is fabulous. It’s the kind of book that, if you’re a writer, makes you jealous because she gets it so right, word by word, white space by white space, chapter by chapter. Malnourished is a TOUR DE FORCE. No kidding.

I wrote a review that I will post on Amazon and Goodreads. It doesn’t do the book justice AT ALL. if you want to read a better review, read Carla McGill’s over on Amazon.


Cinthia Ritchie’s memoir Malnourished is a strange and beautiful trek into the heart of a family. Ritchie has three sisters, and all four girls/women have been tragically affected by their upbringing in a home with a predatory stepfather, a mother who will not see the truth, and a deceased father.

While Ritchie’s sister’s death from anorexia is the catalyst for the book, the subject is Ritchie’s survival story. She shares how she and her sister Deena grew up together, how their relationship expanded and contracted over time, how she and Deena diverged in their responses to life, and where they were similar. While Ritchie claims never to have been an anorexic, she has a complicated relationship with food. Ritchie has exhibited starvation and other dangerous symptoms of emotional distress and control over her body. In this memoir, Ritchie manages to open up a space where we can think, discuss, soul-search human relationships with food as emotionally-charged metaphor and how that power plays out on our bodies.

Reading this story gave me insight into how personalities and desires are shaped by experience. For example, Ritchie is a serious runner who craves being outdoors. By reading Malnourished, I was able to feel what it would be like to need to run, to sleep outside under the stars. A small bedroom offers no place for a child to run from a menace that lurks inside the house, one which makes the walls complicit with the stepfather.

What I’ve written here might sound like Ritchie explains all this in the book. While she does reflect on her experiences, her gorgeous, lyrical writing does not “tell” the reader, so much as allow the reader into her world to figure things out for herself. Most importantly, Ritchie’s generosity in baring herself for scrutiny and understanding is such a gift to every reader.

Malnourished is not a comfortable read. It’s a work of art that nudges readers from our comfortable seats, from the comforting ways our minds purposefully arrange our interior landscapes. The beauty of the way Ritchie arranges her words will keep you going even through the darkest passages.


Felix still has an upper respiratory infection. The vet says that it can last three weeks. Because he has to stay in the bedroom all this time (isolation), I have a lot of anxiety about him being lonely. Poor baby. Please send him healing vibes so he gets well soon and can be let out of the bedroom!

I started experimenting with writing weird poems about everyday subjects and objects, inspired by reading Matthew Lippman’s new poetry collection Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful. I’m not even done reading it yet!


Filed under #amrevising, #amwriting, #AmWriting, #writerslife, Book Review, Books, Cats and Other Animals, Memoir, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Writing

49 responses to “Cinthia Ritchie’s Malnourished is a Tour de Force

  1. This is perfect: “Reading this story gave me insight into how personalities and desires are shaped by experience.” I’ve read Cinthia’s memoir and am embarrassed that I haven’t written a review … yet. She caught me unaware with her honesty that made me reflect on my own past self-destruction behavior. Thank you for writing this. If Cinthia is too shy to brag about her reviews, we can do it for her 🙂
    Sending Felix buckets of virtual pets and treats. I’d say he’s a good excuse for you to spend more time in bed 😉

    • Yes, honesty. While she never really gets into some aspects of her life (it’s not an autobiography, after all), what is here is so RAW and yet so refined through gorgeous writing. Does that make any sense at all? Speaking of reviews, Carla’s review is so good that after I read it I wanted to DELETE mine. But that wouldn’t be fair to Cinthia–and maybe all the different angles from as many viewpoints as possible is best for sales of the memoir.
      Poor Felix. Last night his dad (the gardener) watched TV with him for a few hours. To be clear, he’s in the guest room, not our bedroom, so he really is alone. He was so grateful to have someone with him (sniff). The gardener wore different clothes in there so he wouldn’t pass the germs on to Pear or Tiger, both very frail these days. Doesn’t it seem as if it’s always something with Felix?

  2. It sounds like an interesting book. Thank you for sharing. I’m sure Cinthia is thrilled with your praise.

    I’m also sending Felix buckets of love and hugs. I hope he feels better soon. It’s so hard when we can’t explain with words to them–and can only do our best to comfort them.

  3. Thanks you for introducing us to this book. I’ll take a look to see if I can read it. I tend to feel things too much. Reviews are important. I always leave one if I like a book. If I don’t like it, I say nothing. Sorry to hear about Felix. In the room with no books to read, music or television much less company would be hard. Three more weeks would drive me batty and I have all the entertainment at my disposal. Cats lead a hard life that way. ;( I’ll send good energy his way.

    • The book is difficult emotionally, but Cinthia “saves” us from some of the difficulties by the way she ends the book. I am like you about leaving reviews!
      And Fefe doesn’t understand why he has to be locked up in there. Poor little furry man.

  4. I’ve been wanting to read this, Luanne. I’ve heard a lot about this memoir. Thanks for the review! Sorry Felix is in solitary confinement. ❤️

  5. I love how generous you are in sharing your love of this writer and her work Luanne. Sending virtual company to poor Felix. Though I feel sure cats (and dogs) manage what must be managed better than us humans. The Gardener is a fabulous dad to spend time with him too, he’s a lucky kitty to be surrounded by so much love as that is the most important vibe of all!

    • It seems as if poor Felix is so frequently the one afflicted by something or other. Poor boy. I know he doesn’t understand why he can’t be out in the kitchen with the rest of us. I hope it’s over soon!!! Happy week, my dear!

  6. My best wishes and thoughts for Felix’s improvement.

  7. Thank you for your thoughts on Malnourished. It sounds like a book every writer ought to read. My prayers go out to Felix. ‘m glad The Gardener could spend time with him.

  8. Oh Luanne, you are too kind regarding my review! Thank you! I, too, was stunned by Cinthia’s book, and she deserves some big kudos for writing such a riveting memoir. I’m not sure I could do that! How are your own memoirs coming along? Feeling sad for Felix. Prayers right now. xo

  9. God bless you Felix!

  10. I’m really interested in memoirs. That’s probably my favorite genre, or at least one of. Love to Felix. 🐱

  11. Thank you for this review of Cinthia’s book. How brave she has been to write of these harrowing experiences and what a difficult and emotional book to read!
    I hope your poor Felix gets better soon and the others manage to keep as healthy as they can. Poor you and the Gardener, too!

  12. It’s a lovely review, Luanne. I hope you do persevere with your own memoir – it’s a question of finding what works best for you…

    • Thank you, Sarah. That’s so kind of you. It’s so very frustrating because the shape of the story is endless, starting before my birth and lasting until at least my father’s death. Not that I’ve written it that way in any of its versions, but that’s the material there is to deal with :(.

      • Have you thought of slicing it up into specific subjects and then looking at how the different generations approached it? Possible subjects – Work – what they did and their attitude towards it; Entertainment; Clothing; Money and saving; Religion… One of my students took this approach when she was completely overwhelmed at having to cope with three generations. It worked really well and made for fascinating reading… Apologies if I’m teaching you to suck eggs, btw…

  13. The best kind of writing-and the most difficult – is to make ourselves as writers open and raw and vulnerable. Sounds like that is why Cinthia’s memoir is so touching. Great review !
    Sending healing vibes toward Felix. 🙏

    • Felix is well; thank you! Now I can’t get him back on his prescription food though. He’s taking advantage of having been sick haha.

  14. Beautiful review, Luanne!

    All the best to your little Felix. Hope he recovers soon.

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