• Dying to Be Thin

  • The True Story of My Lifelong Battle Against Anorexia
  • By: Nikki Grahame
  • Narrated by: Yaz Shah
  • Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (129 ratings)

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Dying to Be Thin

By: Nikki Grahame
Narrated by: Yaz Shah
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Publisher's Summary

”The figure looking back at me was little more than a skeleton with just a thin layer of tissue paper for skin, drawn over the stick-like bones. I stood staring for a good couple of minutes, considering what I'd become. And my verdict? Brilliant, I thought. It's been worth every moment of all that hard work.”

Say the name Nikki Grahame and most people will remember the bubbly, highly strung and hugely entertaining Big Brother 7 contestant. Since leaving the Big Brother house, she has forged a successful career for herself in presenting and writing. Yet Nikki isn't just another reality television contestant and her life story is not like any other you will ever read.

From the age of eight until she was nineteen, Nikki battled anorexia nervosa but few cases have been quite as extreme as hers. Aged just eight and weighing just under three stone, Nikki was diagnosed as anorexic.

For the next eight years, she was in and out of institutions - seven in total - during which time she attempted suicide twice and had to be sedated up to four times a day so that she could be force-fed. At one point, she was sedated for fourteen days while doctors sewed a tube into her stomach, through which she was fed in order to get her weight out of the critical range. The lengths that she went to avoid eating and find ways to exercise excessively shocked doctors who have worked in the field for years. As Nikki says, “I've always wanted to be the best at everything I do, so I had to be the best anorexic - and I was.”

This compelling book tells the story of an incredible journey.

©2010 John Blake Publishing (P)2013 Prospero Media

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What listeners say about Dying to Be Thin

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Not What You Might Think

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not necessarily. I am more interested in the professional treatment & analysis of eating disorders. This book is a bit on the sensational side from that perspective, notwithstanding that I believe it to be an honest account from the author's viewpoint.

What was most disappointing about Nikki Grahame’s story?

There is a giant piece missing in this book that only Nikki's caregivers could possibly provide. It seems highly improbable to me that Nikki simply "woke up" one day & decided she'd had it with her anorexia & wanted to be better. Something psychologically was going on all those years that changed. What that might be is far more intriguing to me than the fact that this self-absorbed young lady wound up on Big Brother (a show I've never watched). While it is none of our business, my guess is problems at home were much deeper & Nikki's psychological problems more far more intense than even this dramatic book would reveal. From this account, it would seem that one can simply change her mind one day & go from the brink of death to stardom. That is not reality -- & certainly not for hundreds of young women suffering from eating disorders. Might they not now think that even though there will be pain along the way they might end up the same way? And what result when they do not?

What else would you have wanted to know about Nikki Grahame’s life?

Accounts directly from others -- mom, dad, sister, caregivers. Anorexia is not well understood & I don't think it can be understood simply from the point of view of the person affected. This is a disease with poor insight & the person affected is not the only one walking a hellish road. Perhaps this book is not the right forum, but I am interested in what approaches to Nikki's care were discussed with her parents.

7 people found this helpful

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R.I.P Nikki

Very intense story. I googled her name and found she had relapsed during the pandemic and passed away on April 9, 2021. R.I.P.

3 people found this helpful

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inspiring

Wow! This story was very close to my heart as I am someone that has struggled with anorexia and bulimia for many many years. Like the author I was hospitalized and put into treatment centers and when I would come home- I would go back to my old habits. I’m so glad that Nikki was able to find her way in this book. Her honesty and determination are striving force in recovery. My only wish for Nikki is that she would have been able to continue to fight her demons and the monster that is anorexia. I was so sad to learn when I googled her last night that did succumb to her anorexia. What an inspiring story with such a tragic ending.

1 person found this helpful

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Well …. What the heck ??????

This gal was sick …. This poor thing …. But the thing is how did she get this ill????? Her parents got divorced and then she quickly slipped into seriously debilitating hard core Eating disorder at the tender age of 8 ….. that’s like really young to become this mentally ill …. I wish she would have really let us in more on her real diagnosis. I think there was a lot more to this story that we were not really clued in about . How this child got this sick that fast at that young of age . There’s something not adding up …. You never really learn much about what really was bothering this person . Unfortunately she is gone now and with her death we will never know what made this girl really tick . She had a really rough childhood but not so much from the divorce of her parents but all the hospitals she was living in because she was in some kind of battle to win eating disorder person of the year … it’s crazy what she went through…. Im sorry she’s gone . Sad story really not a lot here to learn other than how severe an eating disorder can get . I wish there was more info about her real diagnosis and what compelled her to the edge especially at such a young age . RIp Nikki …

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Sad story

Such a raw and honest account of her struggle. I felt so sad the whole time knowing that she did not make it. Definitely a cautionary tale for anyone struggling with this disease. RIP sweet girl.

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Loved it!

It captured my attention and my heart! Would highly recommend! Describes the battle and the recovery beautifully…

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sad story and sad woman

so desperate to feel unique and keeps validating herself it's funny and sad to witness

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Respect

I have so much respect for Nikki after reading this. When I initially watched BB I just thought she was a spoiled brat that I still loved because she was so endearing. This explained so much and dispelled many of the doubts I had about her. It also helps other people who are struggling with an eating disorder of how bad it can get and what you miss out on when you do go down the rabbit whole.

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  • sarah kate small
  • 07-30-19

Insightful and honest

A vivid and honest account of how destructive Anorexia can be. The level of detail made it very interesting and the descriptions of the various units helped me visualise what Nikki's time as an inpatient must have been like. Upon listening to the book, I thought she was very brave as so much of herself is revealed. At the points where she hits rock bottom, it's hard to hear and I did have to take breaks. Well worth reading if you are interested in child and adolescent mental health.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Misssyuk
  • 05-11-21

Sad, at the same time amazingly brave!

Wow Nikki’s journey.... gob smacked at the thought her illness started at a young age.. shows how all parents must tell their kids to tell you about any forms of bullying.. one mean comment can have such a strong impact on a vulnerable child.

Nikki was not weak she was strong minded.

This Gov is responsible for her death, she’d battled anorexia most of her life and this ‘lockdown’ took her away... when will the Gov take responsibility for her death? RIP Nikki 😢🥺

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  • Stu maddy
  • 04-28-21

Top draw

Absolutely loved this book it was amazing.. I'm going to read it again it was that interesting. poor girl she had an awful childhood growing up . Felt sorry for her

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-27-21

Heatbreaking but heart warming

Such a sad story on one individuals struggle, such a sad loss of life. Amazing book

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lorna
  • 04-24-21

Emotional and sad tale

I downloaded after I'd heard of nikki's passing. She'd been through so much from such a young age and it's scary to know she went through so much to get where she needed to be. I'm just sorry it took her life in the end :(

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  • Mrs C
  • 03-18-21

Brilliant

As a sufferer myself, this book really hit home. So brave to share her secrets! Well done

1 person found this helpful

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  • Vicky B
  • 11-06-22

The damage of lockdowns

I'm no reality TV fan ... I downloaded off the basis I'd heard of Nikki and have a I vested interest with mental health.

my heart broke to hear her talk of hope and how she felt nothing could damage her recovery now she had reasons for living and a routine to control her illness... listened to this 2 years post covid knowing she died from her Anorexia and huge factor was the gyms being shut down along with all support being reduced.

an example of the many who suffered and fell under the lockdowns ...

RIP Nikki ❤️

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  • Pat
  • 10-30-22

Poignant now

A real insight into eating disorders and their treatment (pre 2009 when the book was released). I imagine so much worse now. As others have said this would be dangerously triggering for anyone experiencing similar and should have a warning on it. A very tough time for Nikki and her family which showed how hard it is to live through something like this. But her hope at the end of the book is particularly poignant now that we know that ultimately she could not stay on top of it. I didn’t enjoy the narration it was way too flat to tell this story.

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  • kirsty
  • 10-15-22

I love Nikki

I watched her on big brother. and on princess Nikki. she is an icon and legend in the UK. hearing her story is heartbreaking, big brother gave Nikki some extra years to live her life truly, until her illness over come her again. rip princess Nikki.
the narrator could've been better. bit flat no emotion in her voice

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  • Col
  • 08-26-22

Incredible

I really wasn’t expecting how this book made me feel. A glimpse into anorexia through the eyes of a very brave woman. Beautiful and yet utterly horrifying. I hope treatment and support has moved on x

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-28-22

Fascinating and genuine

loved this story very inspiring. My favourite part of this book was the hospital stays and the temper tantrums, the narrator was very captivating.

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  • Pete Shields
  • 04-13-21

A truly special girl

So utterly sad reading this after what has happened but your life was worth living nikki and we love you. RIP darling heart.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-26-17

Surprisingly good

I was initially put off by the apparent show of competitive vibe I got from the writer and that bloody Rhodes farm woman that crops up everywhere but the actual book was great don't be put off by the sample or the description this is a great eating disorder read and the writer doesn't come of showy in the book she's raw and honest and humble so give it a try I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Good show niki well done