Good Enough to Eat, by Stacey Ballis, is one of those rare books that you want to truly savor as you read because you never want it to end. This bookGood Enough to Eat, by Stacey Ballis, is one of those rare books that you want to truly savor as you read because you never want it to end. This book was so much more than just a good read to me. It was substantial, meaningful, and important. It was so profound that I wish I would've written it.
It tells the story of Melanie Hoffman, who before we ever meet her has lost half her body weight - 145 pounds. Not only that, but she's left her job as an attorney to open cafe that serves healthy, delicious food. Along the way, Melanie has external and internal conflicts that lead her to realize that losing weight was only the beginning - it's finding out who she is in the world that is going to be the true test of her character.
The main theme of this book is independence, with every nuance that that word can hold. What it means to be single for the first time in a long time; what it means to have financial independence; what it means to live independent of your past demons; what it means to be in a relationship (romantic, friendship, and familial), yet retain your own sense of self. What it means to be free of the fat that has been holding you back from living your life.
Ballis captured what it's like to be an obese person. Even though Melanie is a normal-sized person on the outside, her mentality is still that of someone who faces challenges with her relationship to food on a daily basis. When conflict occurs, Melanie thinks about eating - mashed potatoes, mac 'n' cheese - those comforting foods that are so easy going down but oh so difficult to deal with the next day when you realize that you've (once again) lost control.
It was at those times when Melanie was reflecting with her life coach/nutritionist Carey (how can I get a Carey?!) that I actually found myself learning some difficult truths about myself. These sections gave me insight into my own struggle with my weight, and made me come to several realizations that will help me on my path towards healthy living/losing weight. Many of the quotes in the book made me stop and contemplate my own relationship with food and think about how I can strive to interact with food in a more healthy, "normal" way.
There was so much in this book that I cannot recommend it highly enough. I enjoyed it from soup to nuts and cannot wait for Stacey Ballis' next novel. ...more
I have to admit that I bought this book because of the title: I absolutely adore The Great Gatsby. I thought the premise - two half sisters who barelyI have to admit that I bought this book because of the title: I absolutely adore The Great Gatsby. I thought the premise - two half sisters who barely know each other and inherit a semi-dilapidated Southampton house from their eccentric aunt - sounded interesting. The characters are richly drawn and distinctive. The setting makes me want to go to the Hamptons next summer. The story kept me reading and didn't disappoint. I'd definitely recommend this as a fun summer read, especially if you've read Gatsby and can get the references. ...more
Having just adopted a puppy of my own, I was extremely interested to read this memoir about a woman who travels to rural Italy in search of adventure,Having just adopted a puppy of my own, I was extremely interested to read this memoir about a woman who travels to rural Italy in search of adventure, hoping for a love affair, and who ends up finding a wonderful dog.
I really wanted to like this book, and I did enjoy parts of it, but overall, I found that the only character I even remotely liked was Marcus, the dog. Justine van der Leun paints an ugly picture of the residents of the pastoral Umbrian town in which she finds herself. At best she makes them seem antiquated, and at worst downright cruel. I think I was the angriest with Justine herself for staying in a problematic relationship and not wanting more for herself. I kept wanting to tell her, "get out of there if you're so unhappy." Instead she stays because she doesn't seem to think enough of herself to be alone. While she draws an unflattering picture of the locals of Collelungo, the ugliest person to me was Justine van der Leun, because she acted as if she had no choice in the direction of her life.
She continuously criticizes the Italian family and villagers she finds herself among, and doesn't seem grateful at all that they've opened their homes to her, a relative stranger. She stays on the outside of everything, wishing things were different, but doing nothing to make that happen. While some of the people she encounters are deplorable, many of them are generous, too.
If the point of this book is that you can find love and companionship in a dog, I would have preferred to read more about van der Leun's time with Marcus, rather than the negative experience she had with the Italian people. The book's ending was rather predictable, and it might have been more interesting to find out what happens next, but perhaps that's being left for another book. I for one won't be purchasing that one. ...more
Once again, Jennifer Weiner is back with a powerful look at scandal, addiction, and the expectations that are placed on us from society and ourselves.Once again, Jennifer Weiner is back with a powerful look at scandal, addiction, and the expectations that are placed on us from society and ourselves.
This is a story of a long-time marriage that is rocked by an affair and what happens in the aftermath. It's about losing yourself in someone else so deeply that you aren't sure of who you are anymore. It's about addiction - to drugs and to people. It's about marrying for convenience and then realizing that you deserve more. It's about life.
The characters were vividly drawn and appealing, even at their most judgmental. The setting at a beach house in Connecticut made me want to book a flight there right away. The descriptions of cooking made me want to pick up a cookbook and a wooden spoon.
I am a huge Jennifer Weiner fan, and I liked that this book was so different from all the others that she's written. It shows her growth as a writer, and as a person.
Having read Allison Winn Scotch's previous works, I was expecting something fairly light and breezy. This book surprised me. Not only has the author'sHaving read Allison Winn Scotch's previous works, I was expecting something fairly light and breezy. This book surprised me. Not only has the author's level of writing improved by leaps and bounds (and it was very good before), but this story was so relate-able, so accessible, and so real. I absolutely loved every single page, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read....more
I bought this book on a whim, because I needed to add a book to my Amazon order to get free shipping. It was ok, but the writing style was a bit too sI bought this book on a whim, because I needed to add a book to my Amazon order to get free shipping. It was ok, but the writing style was a bit too simplistic. The message was inspiring, but there was really nothing in this book that one couldn't glean from watching the show. ...more
I love the way Stacey Ballis writes. She makes me wish I was one of her friends and we could hang out in one of the cafes that she describes in the boI love the way Stacey Ballis writes. She makes me wish I was one of her friends and we could hang out in one of the cafes that she describes in the book.
This was fun, smart read. With that said, I think she could've edited a few of the characters out. "Sex & the City Meets Little Women" is one thing, but having to write a chart to keep everyone straight is quite another. (I'm exaggerating, but at times it was difficult to remember who each one was). I liked the multiple narrators, but a few of them could have been kept out and the story would have been even stronger.
If you're looking for an intelligent, light read, look no further. ...more