NonFiction Book Club Food and Loathing by Betsy Lerner Buy book: $13.86 In Lerner's raw and witty memoir of a 20-year battle with depression and compulsive eating, the secret life of women and their self-esteem is vividly portrayed. For every woman who calculates her worth on the morning scale, this is her story, too.
I couldn't stop for even a second while reading today's passage. I know kids can be cruel to each other because they judge each other by physical appearances almost until graduation from High School - sometimes even beyond. But the thing that's irritating me the most is how Anne's mother is poisoning her daughter's mind about her 'figure' and her appearance. I guess I'm not surprised with that, just sickened. I look forward to tomorrow's installment. ~J-E.
I'm going to like this one. I'm very interested in how food affects moods and moods affect what we eat...I was a lucky one, I never had to worry about my weight until recently. My best friend was seriously overweight though, so I'll be reading this with her memory close at hand.
i too read that first excerpt like you did...all of lerner's feelings she puts to page seemed typical of my own when i was that age too. I'm interested in finding out what the force was that gave her that frame of mind as a 12 year old. I agree with your comment about Anna's mother ... but what i also sensed is that by "treating" the girls to one glazed doughnut then allowing the boys a second but not allowing the girls another then making that unbelievable comment about having to watch their figures ... i immediately felt that this comment would be likely to remain at the base of the food problems both these girls would have for the rest of their lives. She did something far worse to those little girls than could have ever been done had they forgone the doughnuts all together ... allowing them a taste of what would become their addiction then depriving them and showing them that for boys it would never matter ... a doughnut is a male's friend... but a doughnut can never be a girl's friend...or better yet a pretty and thin girl's friend... that woman committed an act of abuse and torture on those girls and she probably did not even realize she was doing it!
This one has me hooked already. It's my life story too. I weighed 134 when I was in college, which wasn't perfect for my 5'2" frame, but it was anything but obese. But even then I was told I was fat and I was "supposed" to weigh 115. I've never been able to achieve anyone's idea of my ideal weight, and have therefore always felt like a failure. My weight is high now and I'm thinking this just might be the book to give me some incentive again. Not just to lose weight, but to get to a healthy place again, for me and my family
I have spent my whole life feeling fat. Yet each time I look back at pictures of me when I was a kid, or in high school, or in college, I was so normal! I was not fat, I just didn't have the body shape that we idolize. I still don't, but at least with a few more years under my belt I know that my friends like me for who I am, not what I weigh and that men generally like some meat on those bones! I can joke, but I still honestly yearn to look thin and healthy, not size 16-18 matronly.
Yes, I am hooked this book. I hope it makes me feel better about myself.
I weighed 135lbs and was 5'2" tall when I married a "handsome hunk" after enjoying many years of dating other handsome men. Now after being married to the same man for over 50 years, I am obese and so is he and we are very happy. How you feel about yourself is more important than how much you weigh or what other people think.
Good luck, girls!
I can empathize with this story, not so much as to the weight issue but another issue that came about even before that age. People don't realize that sometimes one becomes what they are called whether fat, lazy, ugly or even stupid as I was called. One gives up and starts believing these (*****). I'm glad to say that I've learned that "I'm important," and also that "Nothing will bother me unless 'I' allow it." I'll be reading along with you all. ..
Have been pondering your quote "Nothing will bother me unless 'I' allow it". Pretty good mantra, and true, I know, and sounds so simple, but takes a good bit of inner emotional work to get to that point . But a quote worth remembering -- Doris --
I feel her pain. The teen years were scarey emotional times. I was skinny but being called "stick" still hurt. I think anyone who was unsure of themselves or shy or felt like they didn't measure up can relate to this book. Thank God we all grow up and hopefully become better, more tolerant people for our experience.
This will be an interesting story...I was a Physical Educator: weighed our girls regularly..our technique was to tell the girl quietly and she told the "recorder" quietly (My recorders were my assistants from a Senior Class.)..and after reading the comments from the other readers..I do not remember name calling,during my school years or fun making of each other. We were all in the same depression kid boat..and were thankful to our parents and wonderful teachers for the fine education we received. Weight control classes were introduced, would you believe in 1940, in our particular school. I am always interested in reading comments..good or bad. I plan to get the book for several friends who are constantly talking about their weight. I listen ,and if asked ,give some of the information that I have gleaned in my 85 years of a good life. Be happy with who you are...give of yourself to others, and know that YOU are important!
I've been reading these passages all week and they've been touching my heart, as I can relate to this girl. I was never overweight when I was a child but I had certain things about me that I was unsure about and those things made me feel very shy. I often wondered if boys looked at me because I was pretty (I hoped) or if they just like ogling my 'curves', as they've been described by some. When I got married 19 years ago, the weight gain that is expected to happen, happened. And then two children later and all that life brings, I'm still trying to figure out why my body just keeps taunting me; it's so hard to lose weight! Today, I'm 38 years old and it's obvious to me that I'm someone who doesn't get that "second glance" anymore. You gave the correct advice... I do tell myself that I need to accept who I am and to be happy with who I am, and to know that I'm an important person; it's just that some days I think it would do my confidence wonders if someone would give me that coveted "second glance." Your comments brought tears to my eyes because I respect what you've said and I admire you for being an 85-year-young woman who aspires to give back that lost confidence that some of us are still trying to snatch back. Your words were like a hug to my heart. God bless you.
I look forward to reading the rest of the week's passages.
it strikes me as interesting that all of the comments I have erad thus far are from women, however, as a young boy i was overweight and had many of the same thoughts and feelings as ms lerner did... any other men want to 'fess up?
as the father of three daughters, one of whom is struggling with her weight, i am afraid of getting this book and having it in the house...she feels bad enough about her body-image, and i would hate to seem like i was researching her problem, but i do want to understnad and if possible to help...i have to read this book, somehow.
it was quite nice to read your message showing your concern for your own daughter in expressing your desire to read this book. perhaps you might find out if it is available in audio cassette form. this way you could listen to it in your car going to and from work and it would not even have to enter your home. just a thought
reply to Jill Elaine:
Thank you for the kind words. Now: Weight is not and should not be your primary focus in your life. It took time to put it on and time will be your friend in re-scultping you frame! You are a worthy person, now continue to think of yourself in a positive way. Do use water as a friend 6/8 glasses a day (1/2 hour before a mea a nice drink of H2o...Try new veggies: fresh and raw are good. the taste of fresh asparagus, snow peas,small beet tops,fresh brussel sprouts tiny spinach leaves, etc. even tiny carrot tops are interesting). Keep the new style of eating to your self..using the words..I am dieting is a signal for everyon to monitor your food intake. Remember los it slowly 3 # in a month in a year you will have lost 36 pounds...and keep it off...Get the book by Dr. Dean Edell..East, Drink and Be Marry....Stand Tall Imagine letting your belly button touch your back bone..this puls in the tummy and you look great. Hve you had your Mammogram --if you are 40 years old? A must.
Like Bill, my daughter is overweight at 10, and starting to feel bad about herself, not wanting to go swimming and do things with other kids because her belly is big. But I want to buy this book...and I want her to read it too.(I guess I'd better check the reviews first!) I had a weight problem my whole life, not significant, but enough to have the self-esteem issues! I don't want her to miss out on things the way I have, or suffer with low self-esteem and the problems associated. I want her to know she's not alone. I also want her to see that it's important to change now, before depression and feeling outcast set in. Hopefully opening the lines of communication about it will help us all work together as a family and improve our habits, lifestyle, and mental/physical health. Reading the book so far has given me extra incentive to get busy now, not to let her suffer any longer than she has to! I owe it to her. Thanks!
I love her description of the scene in the donut shop. Very "descriptive" inwardly and outwardly. And what terrible angst she is already going through, even at this young age, concerning her weight. Looking forward to more of the reads. Of course, you know me, I've already read some reviews of this book, so know some of what is to come. I do think she does a good job of sharing her feelings via her writing.
and I was surprised....didn't think I would like it but I'm hooked. Have never been obese but work very hard to maintain wt and now in my 40s I do it not for how I look but for how I feel(stronger) and general health reasons. However when I was 15 or so I admit with my friends and self it WAS all about how we looked. Ridiculous now at 46 but true at 16.
I really related to the short but accurate passage about the gym class weigh-in. As a chubette in grade school in the Sixties, I remember with horror the calling out of our weights. Hey...where was HIPPA then?? Looking forward to the next installment.
I was warned about the adult language, but wasn't warned about the author's sophmoric use of it. She throws it in like a child who just dared to use it, not in a way that added anything to the sentence, but in a immature manner. I don't think she's using it for the character either. The character is trying to not drawing attention to herself and her childish use of profanity would make everyone look her way. Like the movie-makers of today, some people think profanity is the way to woo people in. Other people know better!
Went back and reread the first two reads to see if I had missed something. Yes, there was profanity in her mind but she was not yelling it out for all to hear and call attention to herself. But those were her "thoughts" based on her feelings of hurt and humiliation and since this is a book based on fact, don't think they were thrown in for shock value. Think the author was being true to herself and to us to share her feelings of pain and anger.
I think she would indeed loved to have shouted the words out for all the world to hear, but she did not. In this book she is releasing those feelings now and the words that went with them.
I agree, sometimes in movies and books, words are just thrown in, but don't think that is the case here. -- Doris --
I just joined club on Monday and did not receive the first installment. If you still have it, please send it to me. Thanks so much. I am really enjoying Tues.'s read, I can relate so well. I have always had a weight issue myself. Don't really care for the language but I do understand the frustration.
I am really enjoying this book if "enjoy" is the right word. I didn't have weight problems but had other body image "issues" growing up (who didn't?) and can relate to the anxiety and pain. Looking back it all seems so wasted and silly. At some point we have to make peace with our imperfect bodies and I only wish it didn't take until my 40s to get there. I came of age with "Twiggy" on every magazine cover and also my always beautifully and stylishly dressed mother. "Fashion" always seemed to be something for others, surely not moi(!). Luckily now it seems one can wear just about anything(within reason) and fit in. But my friends with teenage daughters tell me differently. I look forward to finishing this book.
My word! What days was this poor woman living in? First the weigh ins in elementary of which it seems some of you were subjected to also. I never had a weigh in at school and if I ever even thought about weigh ins now I would connect it to some sport that you had to be within certain wt. guides. And the teacher describing the types of body style the way she did?!! I thought those words described your body configuration, ie, pear shape, etc. May have the wrong words mixed up. But I did go to the dictionary and looked up and endomorph did say "prominence of abdomen and other soft body parts". Sounds like she was in an emotional "Oliver Twist" atmosphere. "Ye Gads!!!"
I remember asking one of my guy friends if he thought I was overweight in Jr. high. "No way! You were always full on Marilyn Monroe!" My mom always told me, "you have such a pretty face..." Well, now I'm recently thinner, and I realize I don't have a very realistic idea of how I sorted into the school mileau. Most woment see more room for improvement in themselves than in their friends, and I guess that's true of me, too.
Even if you decide not to read the rest of the book, please go to amazon.com and read the reviews so you will see where this woman's angst concerning her wt. leads her. Think it may be a very enlightening book whether or not you have a wt. problem and in this day and age, doesn't EVERYONE out there think they have a wt.problem, hopefully not to the extent this woman has, but shows how we think about ourselves can cause serious self destructiveness. Not all the reviews are great, but I plan to read the "rest of the book".
Gosh! Just reading the first day was looking at me and my qualms. I have to go and get this book. I have dealt with this problem all my life and it has been a yo-yo existence. Now at 54, I have seen that it has to be a life time committment. I want to see how close this book and me are. And this proves that I am not the only one who had this problem of looking great!