Praise for The Longest Match

“‘Eating disorders.’ Most of us instantly picture a teenaged or college aged girl when we see those words. After all, doesn’t age immunize women from the body image, weight concerns and eating disorders that plague the younger years? Truth is that, over 15% women at midlife and beyond suffer from eating disorders, surpassing the number affected by breast cancer! These are serious, life threatening and heartbreaking illnesses at any age. This story needs to be told and Betsy Brenner does just that.

The Longest Match: Rallying to Defeat an Eating Disorder in Midlife is a beautifully written and heartfelt memoir illustrating the trajectory from early childhood, through adolescence and early adulthood, to midlife when eating disorder thoughts and behaviors took over the author’s life. Journal entries reveal occasional negative thoughts about her weight or food in younger years, but the stressors of midlife knocked this high functioning woman off her feet.

Like adolescence and young adulthood, midlife is full of tricky transitions. Unlike earlier in life, however, no one is there to catch you when you fall or to coach you back on your feet. Today women feel pressure to do it all and do it perfectly, constantly multitasking at home, and outside of home, taking care of their children and marriages, their extended families, ill and aging parents, all while trying to maintain an identity of their own.

Eating disorders can devour a woman at any age, but Betsy Brenner rallied, using every resource she had. Thank you, Betsy, for being painfully honest about your experiences and your pain, and for explaining the many factors that make a woman vulnerable to eating disorders during midlife. Thank you for finding the courage to access help, for trusting the treatment process and for inspiring other midlife women to believe in themselves. Thank you for telling your story so women struggling with an eating disorder at midlife will know they are not alone and will see a path to recovery. And, most of all, thank you for staying in the match- the ‘longest match’ ever- and winning.”

Margo Maine, PhD, FAED, CEDS
Founder and Adviser of the National Eating Disorders Association
Founding Fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders
Author of Pursuing Perfection: Eating Disorders, Body Myths, and Women at Midlife and Beyond

“I applaud Betsy Brenner for encouraging women of every age to reflect on their relationship with their parents. Through sharing her story, Betsy demonstrates how we can reframe our painful experiences with self-love and self-compassion. This book shows that, at every age, we can grow and find peace and fulfillment through bravely reaching out, connecting with like-minded others, and doing the hard work required to heal our childhood wounds. It’s never too late to start. Thank you, Betsy, for showing us how to be free.”

Dr. June Alexander, The Diary Healer

The Longest Match is an outstanding memoir. I have never seen a documented account of an individual who was first diagnosed with an eating disorder in mid-life. Brenner’s description of the path that led to her illness and her route to recovery is remarkable. She eloquently describes her childhood, her family history, her personality traits, and her love of tennis, that all contributed to the development of her illness. She describes the process of her therapy with great clarity and allows us to see that full recovery is possible.”

Beth Mayer, LICSW

“Empowering, encouraging, heart wrenchingly honest at times, Betsy’s story of the emotional trauma and abandonment she endured along her journey and her hard work towards recovery is a must read for any person struggling with finding their voice. The descriptions of her childhood, college, law school years and her adult life are so vivid and captivating the reader almost feels like they are rallying alongside Betsy. This book is a gift of hope she is sharing with all those who know the isolation of an eating disorder.”

Denise Glickman, MD

“Betsy’s story is one that needs to be told. Her lived experience and continued eating disorder recovery needs to be heard not only by women in midlife but also as ‘should read’ for girls with disordered eating thoughts who are in the competitive sports arena.”

Randi Beranbaum, MS, RD, LDN