Shivack, Nadia 1959-

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Shivack, Nadia 1959-


Born c. 1959.


Home—Tucson, AZ.


Author. Recovery Support Specialist (RSS), University of Arizona Family & Community Medicine; job coach, LFC Mountain Site. Leader of an open community group for women with eating disorders.


American Library Association (ALA) Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, Bank Street Best Books of the Year, and New York Public Library "Books for the Teen Age" citation, all for Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating Disorder.


(And illustrator) Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating Disorder, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.


Nadia Shivack's Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating Disorder, presented in the form of a graphic novel, tells the story of her relationship with anorexia and bulimia. A Publishers Weekly reviewer stated that Shivack "notes that her eating disorder … started when she began swimming competitively in high school; her coach criticized those swimmers who needed to lose weight." "She began to feel huge and unattractive," Jennifer Wardrip wrote in a review for, "and started the cycle of abuse with restricting her diet and then binging on foods that were not allowed. It wasn't long before she met ‘Ed,’ her eating disorder."

"Ed" is depicted in Inside Out in different ways; sometimes as a suit of armor that traps Shivack in her behavior, but most often as a kind of dragon that threatens to consume her. "Sometimes like an alien in her body, sometimes like a lover, Ed was unpredictable and exciting, but ultimately always dangerous and destructive," according to Shivack's MySpace profile. "At an inpatient unit of a hospital where she was taken for treatment, Nadia wrote and drew on napkins after meals in order to keep the food in and calm the outrageous voices in her head. These pictures … tell an unflinchingly honest story of a woman's lifelong battle with anorexia and bulimia."

Reviewers often called attention to Shivack's illustrations in her book, pointing out their central role in communicating her message about eating disorders. Janet S. Thompson, in a review for School Library Journal, stated that she was deeply affected by the pictures, "such as the anatomy of a flower with a torment of words on each petal." Another image, this one a painting, depicts a naked girl's pink body with "extra, dismembered and split limbs, a finger down [her] throat and a bright orange head," stated a Kirkus Reviews contributor. "Shivack's artwork is truly startling [in] its bravery and immediacy," declared Moonshine reviewer Jasmine Rizer. "A few drawings depicting her suicide attempts convey the artist's fear, pain, and loss of control with … intensity."

"I cannot begin to express the effects of having hope again," Shivack wrote in her profile for the University of Arizona Family & Community Medicine Web site. In appreciation of her road to recovery and her work as a recovery support specialist (RSS) at the RSS Institute and as a job coach at LFC Mountain Site, Shivack stated, "I am ‘out’ for the first time with my mental illness which began to ‘collapse’ my life in my early teens."



Shivack, Nadia, Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating Disorder, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.


Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2007, review of Inside Out.

Publishers Weekly, July 9, 2007, review of Inside Out, p. 56.

School Library Journal, July 1, 2007, Janet S. Thompson, review of Inside Out, p. 120.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June 1, 2007, Snow Wildsmith, review of Inside Out, p. 176.

ONLINE, (July 17, 2008), review of Inside Out.

Moonshine: A Journal of the Arts, (July 17, 2008), Jasmine Rizer, review of Inside Out.

Nadia Shivack MySpace Page, (July 31, 2008).

Simon & Schuster Web site, (July 17, 2008), author profile., (July 17, 2008), Jennifer Wardrip, review of Inside Out.

University of Arizona Family & Community Medicine Web site, (July 17, 2008), author profile.