Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Every Last One: A novel

Started reading Anna Quindlen's book Every Last One about three days ago. This is one of the saddest family dramas I have ever read. This is a story about grief and about friendship. The blurb prepared me by indicating that there was going to be a shocking act of violence in the story. I was on edge while reading to find out what the tragedy would be. The nature of the violent tragedy was worse than I had anticipated. This is a tearjerker. It was written to evoke much emotion. If you are a mother, if you have grieved for a loved one, you will be able to identify with Mary Beth, the narrator of the story. Mary Beth is the mother in the story. She was fully involved in the lives of her teen daughter and fraternal twin sons. The writer did an excellent job capturing the teenaged angst that goes on in many homes, the fears and anxieties of every good parent, and the survivor's guilt after a tragedy. Bring out the Kleenex.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oprah's Book Club Pick

What? Oprah's book club selection is Freedom by Jonathan Franzen? Isn't this the writer that did not want his book, The Corrections, to be an Oprah Book Club selection? Has something changed? Isn't this the book that President Obama chose to read over the summer? This book purchase or gift caused a minor stir in the media, as so often happens with every breath the President takes.

If you take on the Oprah challenge to read this book, then log in and write in the journal.

I didn't like The Corrections ; it was long and tedious to read so I am not planning to join the rush to read Freedom.

Corrections dealt with dysfunctional family members in the Lambert family. The oldest son Gary was stingy with his money and manipulated by his wife. Chip was the con artist in the family. He was the brilliant and sex obsessed middle son. Denise was the talented and competitive last child; an only daughter who kept falling for older men. The parents Enid and Al were an incompatible and unhappy couple.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Books about Food and Weight-loss

I finished reading Roth's book, Women Food God. I think I understand what she is saying in pages 198 - 201 but I am not sure how it really helps someone who is a compulsive eater, or who is obese to the point of having issues with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other ailments.

Roth outlined the Sufis three journeys to a Spiritual Path: Journey from God, Journey to God, and the Journey in God and related them to using food as a doorway to God.

Journey from God which is equated to the journey from self: We believe we are what we weigh and spend life dieting, bingeing, exercising etc. until this journey ends with disappointment.

Journey to God which is on par with the journey to self: We stop dieting, we keep the weight on and we hold on to the drama of agonizing about the weight until this journey also ends with disappointment.

Journey in God and the discovery that we are one with God: We stop obsessing about food, dieting, and weight and the journey ends with kindness to self, freedom, and peace.

The Eating Guidelines are at the back of the book on page 211 and they sound very much like the point of view in Mireille Guilano's book, French Women Don't Get Fat. If I remember correctly, in that book Guilano pointed out that French women walk more than American women, they enjoy their food more and portion sizes were much smaller than what the average American eats at home and at a restaurant. Weight from her point of view had to do with culture; not God.

Read more from Roth and about Roth on

Friday, September 10, 2010

Still reading Women Food God by Roth. I am reading page 175 which seems to be saying to me that the struggle with food can not be controlled with self-discipline because the struggle is really about loving and wanting and having. Roth seems to be saying at one point that the struggle with food is a struggle with love and God.

In the chapter titled, Those Who Have Fun and Those Who Don't, Roth identified two distinct pattern of behaviors of compulsive eaters: the Permitters, for example me, and the Restrictors. The Permitters rebel against following food rules and are suspicious of diets. Permitters need to feel safe and merge with chaos because they feel that there is no point trying to control the uncontrollable. They are the "Oh, what the heck" kind of people. The "jolly fat" folks fit into this category because the "Eat, drink and be merry" attitude prevails. They are really in denial and walk around numbing the pain. The solution is for Permitters to wake up from the numbness and recognize hunger and fullness cues.

Restrictors are, of course, the opposite. They love structure and rules therefore they willingly deprive themselves and follow various diets.

I liked the If Love Could Speak chapter. Roth discovered her workshop group of compulsive eaters rebelled against Eating Guidelines so she framed them as "If Love Could Speak Instructions". If love could speak what would it say to you about food? Roth is confident love would say, Eat what your body wants then stop.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Women Food God

Started reading Geneen Roth's book, Women Food God yesterday. The message of the book is essentially that our body obeys the shape of our beliefs about love; that overweight is not about weight but about deficiency, emptiness and dissatisfaction; and that overweight is based on the story we tell ourselves about where we are supposed to be in life. I am on page 99 and the solutions so far to compulsive eating is acceptance of the moment, paying attention to now, treating the body as a friend rather than something that needs fixing, stop dieting. The message is for emotional eaters.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


I have been reading Tiare in Bloom, the third book in the trilogy by Celestine Vaite. The other two books were very interesting, Breadfruit and Frangipani. The series is about life and love in Tahiti. The focus in this book was Pito the father of Tamatoa and the grandfather and guardian of Tiare. Pito has evolved into a man worthy of his wife Materena, the backbone of the family. She is a cleaner who became a radio talk show host. The theme in this book is fatherhood. Loved the insight into Tahitian life and the conversational tone of the writing.