chapter  3
Designing a Project: Fiction-Based Research Practice
Pages 24

This chapter presents a novel 'Waiting Room' that deals with the slow unraveling of a 'perfect' family confronted with the mental illness of a child. Waiting Room centers on the unraveling of the 'perfect' family due to a daughter's eating disorder. It becomes important from the outset for Cheryl Dellasega to present this family clearly, realistically, and resonantly. Waiting Room is presented with a highly relatable 'family' engaged in the 'typical activities' expected of a middle-class American family. Dellasega brings a range of personal and professional experiences to bear on her writing of Waiting Room. Her aim in writing Waiting Room was to provide health education to a broad audience through an engaging and entertaining novel. Waiting Room makes a substantial contribution to people's understanding of how eating disorders/mental illness impacts family units and individual family members in complicated ways. Through writing in the fictional format, Dellasega also contributes to public scholarship on a topic that affects many.