Cover Image: All That Fills Us

All That Fills Us

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I don't know much about eating disorders. But I learned a little more by reading this novel.

Written by a recovering anorexic and exercise addict, I heard through the main character Mel Ellis how devastating anorexia can feel, both physically and mentally. 

The plot was a little thin for me. Mel decided on a whim to hike, all alone with no preparations, from Michigan to Mt. Rainier in Washington. I had many questions that the book didn't address about how this journey would have been feasible.

But the action moved forward at a rapid enough pace to keep me interested. 

I received this book from NetGalley and Revell for review.
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All That Fills Us was one of those books I had to keep putting down and picking back up immediately. It was written so true to life that sometimes it was a little overwhelming, especially for someone who could relate to the eating disorder symptoms. It was amazingly written, the characters (all of them) were so true to life. I love how Mel thought she had such a great childhood yet as she kept healing, she realized there were things in her childhood that needed sorted through, forgiven and then let go. I love, love, love how throughout her journey she came across people in her path that literally at times, saved her life, and how their meeting and her staying with them for a while changed/blessed them both. I also loved how she wrote postcards to her ex, and then they were able to reconcile, both from a healthier place. This was an amazing book, one who’s details have stayed with me. It was a tough subject and very true-to-life, yet offered so much hope throughout. 
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.
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This is the story of Mel, a young girl struggling with severe anorexia and a very unhealthy relationship with exercising. At a breaking point, she leaves everything behind, including treatment, and embarks on a cross country journey, vowing to walk from Michigan all the way to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state. Neither ready physically or mentally, she sets off on her pilgrimage, determined to see Mount Rainier in person, something she’s dreamed of seeing since she was a young girl. 

This books was so much more than I thought it was going to be. Written in first person narrative, you are pulled into Mel’s eating disorder and given a front row seat to her internal struggles with food and exercise. I’ve always found anorexia fascinating from a clinical standpoint so this book was right up my alley. There were times you just want to stop Mel from continuing on her journey, wrap her up in a big hug and force her into rehab as she seems so close to the brink of death. But the journey goes on and the people Mel meets on the road were some of the best parts of the story. 

This is a beautiful story, although heartbreaking at times, full of hope and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Great ending too! 

*side note: it didn’t even occur to me while reading it that this is Christian fiction novel. Don’t let that sway you. There is some god talk, but no more than in any other book where a character is perhaps a bit religious or goes to Church. But it was not a prevalent theme in this book at all imo and definitely not preachy. Not sure why some readers are bothered by this. So many books mention god or praying lol. 

**thank you to netgalley for the advanced digital copy. All opinions my own.
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All That Fill Us is a compelling, emotional story of a young woman who has lost her way by losing herself in all that she perceives as failures. In doing this, her problems now are manifesting themselves in an eating disorder that is slowly killing her.

Mel is a bright and often witty character that most could relate too. She knows what she is doing is unhealthy and she knows she is hurting herself and those she loves as well. However, the mind is a powerful thing and so are the voices that come and tell us that we are worthless or not enough, or that we are failures. And they are especially loud when circumstances in our life derail us from the life we thought we could achieve. When careers don't pan out, or sickness comes, or especially when you lose the love of your life, these circumstances can make us feel even more worthless and if left unchecked, can push us to believing the lies about ourselves.

This is Mel's journey as she starts out from her home to journey across the country to Mt. Ranier in an effort to have a pilgrimage of sorts. What she discovers on the way is that she is so much more than just a number from the scale that she is valuable and loved. Even loved and cared for from complete strangers. To survive life, Mel must learn the lessons along this journey, face an uncertain future, and put into a better perspective her past, her family and the love of her life, Alex. But ultimately, she needs to find her worth and value in the One who finds her more valuable and precious than she ever thought.

This is a deep and heartfelt story of a woman, who could be any of us with any sort of problems, and her journey to beginning to get well and truly learn to be content in all circumstances.

I was provided a copy of this novel through the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
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This story took me a while to get into. Mel was all over the place in the beginning and I was trying to sort her out. This is not a book for everyone, you definitely have to have a strong constitution to read about her serious anorexia and her compulsive exercising. It is not an easy topic and not everyone will be able to stomach it. While overall I appreciated the sentiment of the story, I felt like the 2000 mile trek was unrealistic. I know people can definitely overcome anorexia on their own, but as bad off as Mel was, it didn’t seem plausible she could hike across the country in her condition. But this is fiction so I can let it slide. My favorite part of the story was all of the people that Mel met along the way. I loved how she found amazing people to fill the void inside of her. I was really shocked when the book ended, I didn’t feel like there was a clear resolution. I wanted closure with her Mom, her grandma, her ex boyfriend, and her eating disorder.  I found the ending to be abrupt. However overall, I enjoyed the story and Mel’s journey to healing. I received a copy of this book for free; all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I have to admit that as someone who has never had an eating disorder, I was frustrated with the main character in the beginning. I don't understand anorexia and I was struggling to relate to how the disorder was prompted by a romantic breakup. However, I hung in there until the end and I did gain a bit more insight into the way the disorder works and the emotional toll it takes on everyone.
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This was a very difficult book for me to read. Someone close to me is dealing with the same thing Mel is. It was hard to be in Mel’s head and think this might be the same thoughts this other person in my life thinks. There were times I didn’t like Mel and times I wanted to hug her.

I also wasn’t sure if I would find this book interesting since it’s Mel by herself but she meets people along the way and it was very interesting and the people she met were all interesting and played a part in her healing.

This book doesn’t get wrapped up all nice and neat. Actually, I had a different ending in my head but sometimes a messing ending is okay, because that is they way real life is.

I will say I struggled with the author capitalizing the work earth, like it was a “being” and I don’t like the way Christians were portrayed in the book. The truth is, the things that Mel’s mom said were true, it was just the way she said them that needed some work. I almost felt like this was a Christian bashing book and made Christians look bad and showed people with no faith as kinder then Christians.

Aside from that it was a good book.

A copy of this book was given to me through the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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I will be honest, it took me a minute to get into this book. I had a couple of false starts, but once I was able to settle in, I was fully engaged. This story was unlike anything I have read. It was thoroughly fascinating to be in the head of someone who was struggling with an eating disorder and mental illness.

The journey itself seemed impossible. I was sure there was no way at a good outcome. However, the mental health journey was just as important as Mel ran into people who were willing to help and wouldn't take no for an answer. 

The relationships and growth in this book were compelling. I felt so many emotions as I read. I wanted to convince her of her worth, and help her confront her mother. I wanted to hug the women she met a long the way. 

I was moved by this story and want to see Mel's journey to better health, I want to see her interactions with family and with Alex. I wasn't ready for it to end. 

I received an early copy from the publisher and netgalley and this is my honest review.
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Mel Ellis is battling anorexia and she wants to cure herself.  She undertakes a walking journey from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington State. This is a trek that would be challenging for the physically fit and prepared.  She is neither.  The story is told in her own words with wit, candor and insightful observations.
The author has created a protagonist who readers will get to know quite well and she is well worth knowing.  She grapples with emotions and questions many have faced.  She has faced disappointment and seeks purpose  and usefulness. The narrative is so well detailed that readers feel they are walking with Mel. Will this undertaking give her the strength she needs to heal?
Expertly paced and beautifully told, this book is well worth reading.  Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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In my opinion I felt that this new to me author has done an amazing job with the tough subjects that are involved.  At times I've found myself wanting to cry because it was painful watching Mel go through her journey.  
I like that this book shows us how there are still some wonderful people out there.
The cover. Very interesting with pretty colors. Don't think I've ever seen a cover quite like this one. I love it for it's uniqueness.
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It should be pointed out right away this book is about an ongoing eating disorder. However if this is a topic that you can handle the book is well worth the read. It is raw and open with the main character. You want to be her friend and give her a hug. Sometimes you want to slap her. But you are happy to be on the journey with her.
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

This book was thought provoking but tricky to follow at times. The themes were a bit vague and I would have enjoyed more details about the characters and overall story: I think this book could be really helpful to people going through similar struggles, but it didn’t quite get there for me.
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This book is heavy. This is NOT a quick, easy read. It isn't a fun read. But it's a good one. 

I was surprised at how much I relate to Mel. She worries about her stomach getting bigger, I worry about double chins. She needs to exercise for 6 hours a day, and while I don't go to that extreme, I definitely feel like I gain weight every time I don't go to the gym. Anytime I binge on comfort foods (my grandpa did just pass), my first thought is how hard I'll have to work out the next day to get rid of those calories. I always end up talking myself down from that, but that is always, ALWAYS my first thought. I assumed most women feel that way. I guess that isn't the case.

Mel's journey was hard for me to read for those reasons above. I ached with her, I cried with her, I rejoiced with her, I learned with her. This is a book that will become a part of me.
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This was such a compelling, relatable and emotive read. One of my best friends has suffered since childhood with an eating disorder and I saw so much of her and her struggles with in this book. A really great book
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This book resonates so deeply with me.
Eating disorders are something that are currently very close to my heart, because I have people in my life I care so deeply about struggling to find their way through.
I loved the story, loved hearing from Mel. 
It is absolutely heartbreaking, yet oh so beautiful.

Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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Autumn Lytle’s debut novel, ALL THAT FILLS US, is brave, insightful, and powerful. Having read the author’s bio and publisher’s notes, I knew this would be a painful and visceral journey for the protagonist, but the humor and respect for this disease was an unexpected revelation.

The protagonist, Mel, is relatable. At the root of her eating disorder, Mel struggles with self-worth and finding her place in the world, these are universal struggles. Which truly helped me to understand that we all have different ways of processing those pains, but the first step is to recovery is not that different for all of us.

Mel’s journey to Mt. Rainier (I used to be able to see Mt. Rainier when I walked to the mailbox *sigh*) from Grand Rapids, MI seems impossible. Really, it was impossible in her condition, but that tiny ember—spark—of hope drove her.

It was an Every Man’s journey that was so remarkable and nourishing to the soul, I couldn’t stop swiping those pages, until at last I finished with a better understanding of this disease and my own humanity.

Beautifully written, Lytle has given a voice to those with hearts so guarded by shame and worthlessness and pride, it nearly squeezes all the life from these vibrant souls. Her voice and her journey fed this novel so richly. I look forward to reading more by this author.

Highly recommend for the well-written adventure that it is—the incredible subject matter makes it all the more compelling.

I received a complimentary eBook from Revell through #NetGalley, for my honest review.
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CW for religion; eating disorders

This book was a hard read for me. Mel was someone I could heavily relate to with her struggles, but following her journey with non traditional means to help solve it made it tough for me. 

I think the premise of this book really touched on the fact that we truly have no idea of what is happening in other people's minds and to treat everyone with compassion and kidness.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this eARC in exchange for my honest review!
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A poignant and sadly relatable story. Unfortunately, I have struggled with religion and medical cross-over and found this book triggering and uncomfortable but well written and representative of an authentic experience. This book might not be for everyone, but it is an evocative journey and may help others understand the experience even if they have never lived it.
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3.5 stars

This is a challenging read about a woman who struggles with an eating disorder and makes a pilgrimage walking from Michigan State to Mount Rainier. Mel struggles with her thoughts and self-worth, and is addicted to exercise and not eating. Dangerously close to dying, she balks at the care provided her by her grandmother and medical team. She’s ended up one too many times in the hospital and rehab is the next step in her recovery. For whatever reason (which isn’t clear to the reader at the beginning), she refuses this and decides to walk to Mount Rainier, forming a pilgrimage similar to one her dad went on when he was young. 

The author does an excellent job giving readers insight to Mel’s thoughts. She battles herself on every page and in every circumstance as she walks, sometimes frustrating to the reader. Lots of interesting characters are presented along the journey, each one somehow helping Mel to heal. There is one character in particular that is spiritual – so lots of teachings that are pulled from a variety of religions. Healing for Mel isn’t found in the love, mercy or grace of God, but rather in reciting prayers and finding God in nature.

If you enjoyed, Erin Bartels’s All That We Carried, a story of estranged sisters hiking through mountains and dealing with their broken relationship, you’ll probably enjoy All That Fills Us.

I received an ecopy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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A promising debut novel from an author I'll be watching in future.

This is a thought-provoking read on a lot of levels. I was amazed at how much I actually saw myself in Mel's thought processes and struggles; I've never suffered from an eating disorder, yet I've had many of the same thoughts, fears, and concerns with weight, the numbers on the scale, and corresponding urges to exercise to perhaps unhealthy levels. Frankly, it was eye-opening and humbling.

I loved that Mel continued on her journey to Mt. Rainier--I'm a PNW girl through and through, and any and every PNW reference made me smile. I wish we'd seen more of her recovery process through some form of medical assistance, whether rehab, therapy, a dietitian/nutritionist, etc. Granted, I have NO idea--again, not having actually experienced an eating disorder myself--what the general (or an optimal) approach is on that front, but I do think it would be helpful for those readers who do and who pick up this read.

I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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