AdultFiction Teton County Library's Reviews > The Middlesteins

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
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Jul 03, 13

Read in July, 2013

TCL Call#: F Attenberg J

Rebecca - 3 stars
Edie Middlestein is a smart, funny, sharp but likable woman who is eating herself to death. Her husband, Richard, leaves her after more than 30 years of marriage. The family punishes Richard for leaving his wife, but the book slyly poses the question about who really is responsible for her devastating behavior. I like that this book explores the question of how far we must go to shore up our loved ones or whether it's up to individuals to save themselves. Can you save someone if she's not willing to save herself? The book also leaves room for reflection about how we as a society turn to "comfort food" to paper over our problems. If Edie were an alcoholic would people still hate her husband for leaving? Her addiction to food seems every bit as powerful and fatal as she finds escape in the ecstasy of eating. I had a little trouble connecting with the characters, which made it hard for me to really care about them. I also couldn't quite decide how I felt about the husband. This book left me wondering how complicit his passivity -- lack of action -- was to Edie's demise. How much blame does he deserve? I guess what makes this book good is it makes you wonder...
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07/03/2013 marked as: read

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