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Eat Only When You're Hungry

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,833 ratings  ·  268 reviews
A father searches for his addict son while grappling with his own choices as a parent (and as a user of sorts)

In Lindsay Hunter’s achingly funny, fiercely honest second novel, Eat Only When You’re Hungry, we meet Greg—an overweight fifty-eight-year-old and the father of Greg Junior, GJ, who has been missing for three weeks. GJ’s been an addict his whole adult life, disappe
Hardcover, 212 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Average rating 3.24  · 
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 ·  1,833 ratings  ·  268 reviews

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Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The frailties of the human body and the human heart are laid bare in Lindsay Hunter’s utterly superb novel Eat Only When You’re Hungry. There is real delicacy, tenderness, and intelligence with which Hunter tackles this portrait of a broken family of people who don’t realize just how broken they are until they are forced to confront the fractures between them and within themselves. With this novel, Hunter establishes herself as an unforgettable voice in American letters. Her work here, as ever, ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
After positive reviews and a nod from Roxane Gay, and being one of the Book of the Month picks, my Newest Literary Fiction group declared this as a buddy read for September. It's the first book I grabbed for the month.

Most of the time, the unlikeable, older characters with disappointing lives are side characters, there for pity or amusement. Or they are the central character on a journey. I suppose Greg in this novel is on a journey too, to try to find his drug addict adult son GJ (Greg Junior),
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

The blurb calls this book achingly funny and as I read I kept waiting to laugh or chuckle. Nope. Then I waited to be amused, or maybe even read something that put a smile on my face. But nope, not even one tiny little bit. I really don't get the reviews that call this book funny.

Greg, an obese, retired man in his late 50's, and obviously depressed, sets off in an RV to find his addict son who has gone missing. As he travels, he reminisces on his failures as a father to his son, and as
Book of the Month
Appetites For Destruction
By Judge Nina Sankovitch

What is it about the word “addict” that triggers so many contrasting emotions? Pity, fear, anger, disgust, sympathy. And what about empathy? After reading Eat Only When You’re Hungry, the empathy I felt outweighed every other feeling. I came away weeping, laughing, and nodding in recognition.

After all, aren’t we all addicted to something? Why do some of us maintain balance while others fall so hard for so little? Lindsay Hunter poses these questio
Jessica Sullivan
This is a short novel that somehow feels very long. Fifty-eight year old Greg—obese, listless, depressed—decides to rent an RV so that he can try to find his missing addict son GJ. For the entire novel we're pretty much in Greg's head. I typically love unlikable characters and I wish I could put my finger on why I didn't enjoy this one but I'm struggling.

The truth is that Greg is just as messed up as GJ in his own ways. He was a bad father and a bad husband to his first wife and he's currently
Book Riot Community
An unhappy middle-aged man goes on a trip to find his missing son, but along the way, as he fills his aching heart with roadside junk food, he faces up to harsh truths about his own existence. Hunter is one of today’s smartest writers and she has written a powerful, sharp look at addiction and America.

Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books:
Sep 18, 2018 marked it as couldnt-finish  ·  review of another edition
I made it halfway through.

I just don't care about what it's like to be a willfully-ignorant, 59-year-old overindulging misogynist who needs something to do with his nothing life so decides he cares about his son, a known addict who has been missing for over 3 weeks, and goes to find him. In a rented RV that smells like cigarette smoke.
The narrator irritated me as much as the story irritated me and I don't have time for that kind of nonsense.

Moving on.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wish an extensive and painful root canal onto every single character in this novel.
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dear Cecilia,

My hope is that you’ll never read this, that I’ll never feel as though this will be the only way to reach you, for my words to resonate. Truth be told there have been many days in which I wonder if they ever do, this morning specifically, when you kicked and screamed and cried and went limp as I dragged you away from mommy’s office. But hey you’re five, and I’m currently a shell of the man I once was. And while these are hardly excuses it’s only fair I cut us a both a little bit of
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
A terribly obvious theme of "all in moderation" pervades everywhere (ie. the title itself). And addiction is a horrible disease: but also, glass houses, pointing fingers, throwing stones at sinners...

Well, sometimes mediocrity begets the same. In this tale of semi-authentic attempts at healing a shitty family, the sinner basically blames another sinner, all the while experiencing all the comforts he's garnered: basically the birthright of the White man. Oh, and you will witness the male Karen in
mindful.librarian ☀️
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a finished copy of this book for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

I read fiction for many reasons, the three main ones being entertainment, education and emotion - the 3 Es for me. I have decided to rate this book based on these because I am really struggling to express my active dislike for this book contrasted with my true appreciation for the writer's abilities and the literary nature of it. Because I do really appreciate what Hunter d
Ethel Rohan
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm gobsmacked this novel isn't being heralded more. Lindsay Hunter's prose is gorgeous and brilliant, and there's incredible skill shown throughout this tight, moving read.

Yes, Greg is frustratingly passive and, yes, he fails over and over again and, yes, his world is often brutal, but he's a beast in how hard he's at last willing to look at the truth and to own it.

So much of the pain here resonated and the ending was honest and elegant. Hunter is the perfect name for this fierce wordsmith.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: release-2017
Smart + creative writing, loved that.
I enjoyed the way Hunter was able to manipulate + layer all her character's individual personal dysfunction. Each character was very real and unique in their own distorted way. So much so, I was silently cheering GJ on to stay missing.. sounds terrible I know!!
A clever use of the title too as I figured out later in the book. 👍🏻👍🏻
Vincent Scarpa
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Updated: Here's my review for LARB:

FUCK. YES. to every line of this perfect novel.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this touching and often funny story of an aging father on the road to find his addict son that has gone missing.
Jarrett Neal
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Something is amiss. I know this novel has lots of champions, but I just didn't find Eat Only When You're Hungry as enthralling and revelatory as other readers did. Lindsay Hunter aims to pull readers into a story weighted in pathos. Greg, the main character, is a man who physically embodies sorrow and regret, manifest in his corpulence. He is a very fat man with very real addictions, like his son GJ, the drug and alcohol addicted ghost of the book. Like father, like son is a trite cliche though ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lindsay Hunter is one of my favorite contemporary writers and this book adds a new layer to her already impressive list of accomplishments. Driven by the storyline of a disconnected dad feebly looking for his grown, possibly drug-addicted (or dead) son, the third person narration places you directly in the tense and heartbreaking emotional center. If you're a parent of a teenager or grown son or daughter, you'll surely find yourself relating to this, even if addiction hasn't been an issue in you ...more
Aaron Burch
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Probably my fave Lindsay Hunter yet! I kept avoiding work and my own writing in order to power through this in the last few days, wanting to basically always be reading it.
Viv JM
By turns funny and tender, I really enjoyed this story of a father on the trail of his missing addict son. I listened to the audio narrated by David LeDoux, and I felt he was the perfect voice for Greg.
Ryan Bradford
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book rocked me in a quiet way. I've always loved Lindsay Hunter's writing intrepidness, trailblazing and her ability to just fucking go there, but this book is more of a masterful implosion. It's methodical and sad and so funny, and it feels haunted by the ghosts of lesser books that it killed in its path. The main character Greg is such a pathetic joy to hang with—the epitome of being sad in America. I've loved all of Hunter's books, but this one is something else. She's only getting bette ...more
Aug 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
I hated this book. BOTM fail.
Renita D'Silva
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Beautiful and poignant.
Hayley Stenger
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I have a love/hate relationship with this novel.

I love the writing. It is full of simlies and metaphors that make me admire the skill of Lindsay Hunter. She is undeniably talented.

The characters were well thought out and flawed. They had difficult and realistic problems and processed them in familiar and realistic ways, but this is also my problem. I rooted for Greg, and GJ-- I hoped for them, but at the end of the novel I felt sad and disappointed. I didn't feel a lot of hope and I didn't think
Rachel León
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, read-in-2017
My word, this book. It'll surely end up one of my favorite reads of this year. So so good. ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lindsay Hunter is such an interesting writer. I didn’t love this book quite as much as Ugly Girls, but still, it’s an easy four stars for the way she keeps us engaged with unappealing characters and for her compassionate portrayal of a late-middle-age schlub whose bad luck and bad choices are reaching their logical conclusions.
Brittany Rosensky
Aug 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: botm, 2017, adult-fiction
This book was such a disappointment.

Greg, an overweight retired accountant, goes on a journey to find his drug addicted son who's been missing for three weeks.

Honestly, Greg is a really fat guy who can't stop eating and doesn't really care what it is doing to himself. He's divorced to his son's mother, and his current marriage isn't all that great either. He finally decides to get his butt off the couch and look for his son, but in reality he only goes to three places.

This book just was not w
Aug 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Why was this story written? Seriously...I do not get it. There really was not anything about the story that needed to be told. I'm all for a "slice of life" type narrative - I do not need a plot to be engaged - but upon completing this book I just felt like "meh, who cares".

All of the characters annoyed me. It was very apparent that the author was trying to be gritty and edgy, however her characters and storyline were not gritty nor edgy enough for me to find it interesting. Nothing redeemable h
Aeriel Frederick
Aug 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was really excited to begin reading this book. I chose it for my Book of the Month Club choice due to reviews claiming that it tackled the topics of food, alcohol, and drug addiction. However, after finishing the book I really felt like it was a waste of time. The characters didn't seem fully developed and at the end I kind of didn't see the point of the story. ...more
Megan Rosol
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely heartbreaking, original, universal, beautiful, in parts funny story of dealing with family trauma. Finished it at my lunch break. I cried. One of the best books of 2017.

The audiobook was also solid.

Readalikes: Motherestby by Kristen Iskandria, The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings.
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book, for Lindsay's acerbic prose strung like barbed wire around its beating heart. It would make a great tattoo, come to think of it. ...more
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Lindsay Hunter lives in Chicago. She is the author of Daddy's and DON'T KISS ME. Read her blog at ...more

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