Tag Archives: Full: Overcoming our Eating Disorders to Fully Live

Full: Overcoming Our Eating Disorders to Fully Live by Melissa L. Kelley and Alayna Burke Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 


Authors Alayna Burke and Mellisa L. Kelley share a personal story of anxiety, eating disorders, and the path they took to overcome the odds and find joy in their lives in the book “Full: Overcoming Our Eating Disorders to Fully Live”. 


The Synopsis 

Growing up in the digital age, with the pressures of social media and increasingly competitive academics, Alayna’s perfectionism started early in life. She began to despise her body after a pre-teen wellness check when the physician told her to “lay off the snacks” and watch her weight. At age 16, Alayna was diagnosed with anorexia. She was three weeks from being sent to an in-patient treatment center when she decided to take charge of her life.

Plagued with body dysmorphia beginning at six years old, Melissa came of age in the diet culture of the 1970s and 1980s when fad diets, diet pills, and at-home exercise equipment dominated the golden age of advertising. Melissa was diagnosed with bulimia when she was 16 and her treatment included both inpatient and intensive outpatient programs over five years. After a series of traumatic events, she struggled with anorexia in her thirties.

Burke and Kelley weave their stories of illness and recovery through 12 topics that fed their eating disorders and share how they now manage those challenges to fully participate in life. FULL offers insight and hope to people struggling with eating disorders and those who love them.

The Review

This was such an emotional and captivating nonfiction read. The authors did an incredible job of finding just the right balance between the memoir style of writing and the specific focus on the topic of eating disorders and the impact they have on the person suffering from them. The atmosphere the authors create through their shared experience speaks both to the hardships they endured in their journeys and the hope they found in overcoming those disorders through the help of their families and proven techniques they discovered that helped them.

What stood out to me was both the exploration of each of these authors’ journeys in vastly different eras of history and the focus on personal experience more so than any technical or clinical focus on these disorders. The personal stories these authors share not only reflect their struggles but how the era they grew up in impacted how their disorders arose and presented themselves. This allows a larger group of readers to identify with the book and feel represented by the bravery and courage these authors have shown in writing this vitally important book. 

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, emotionally driven, and haunting yet hopeful all at once, authors Alayna Burke and Melissa Kelley’s “Full” is a must-read nonfiction and memoir-style book. The amount of knowledge and personal experience the authors share about their own journeys and how they related to one another over time, as well as the inspirational tone that the authors struck made this book readers won’t be able to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Alayna Burke started her idea for Full as an eighteen-year-old senior in high school. She grew up in Saint Charles, Missouri, and always loved to write as a kid. Alayna developed anorexia, stemming from anxiety and depression, as a sixteen-year-old. Outpatient treatment and a strong support system helped Alayna recover in about two years, although the voice of her eating disorder still nags at her every once in a while. Alayna often wished there was a book out there from the voice of a teen who could relate to her, so she’s providing just that for other women. FULL is Alayna’s first published work. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in nutrition and exercise physiology with a minor in psychology at the University of Missouri. Alayna plans to become a registered dietitian.

Melissa Kelley grew up in Saint Charles, Missouri, the third of six children. Her love for writing began in high school and blossomed in her forties when she began blogging and writing a memoir. Full is her first published work.Throughout her career, Melissa has worked in both corporate and civic non-profit organizations. She currently holds a leadership position in a company whose mission is to make the planet better through environmental sustainability services. In 2018, Melissa was named one of Saint Louis’ Most Influential Businesswomen by the St. Louis Business Journal. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Truman State University and a Master of Business Administration from Washington University in Saint Louis. She lives with her two children, Athena Robin Kelley and Erin Iris Christine Kelley, and their Cavapoo, Noah, in Saint Louis, Missouri.