‘It’s about wanting to look ill’: Hadley Freeman opens up about struggling with anorexia

Hadley Freeman is the author of a memoir of her years struggling with anorexia nervosa, "Good Girls: A Story and Study of Anorexia", published April 2023.

At 14, Hadley Freeman—now a prominent American-British journalist, then a teenager struggling with anorexia nervosa—moved into a psychiatric ward to treat her condition. She spent three years there, only to leave without truly recovering, instead spending more than a decade struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse and ongoing anorexia that became a new normal for her.

This year, Freeman, now 45, turned her reporter lens against herself by publishing a memoir about that era, Good Girls: A Story and Study of Anorexia. The book is being heralded as incisive, self-deprecating and insightful; Phoebe sits down with Freeman for a deep dive into the memoir, her Jewish roots and how the modern medical community addresses these unique illnesses.

Plus, Avi and Phoebe discuss the bizarre social media story from this week about a Hasidic gay man who was outed as not actually being Hasidic, and also the future of Frasier, which is at least adjacently Jewish.


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast or donating to The CJN.