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Crave: A Memoir of Food and Longing

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  214 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Christine O'Brien remembers growing up in NYC's famous Dakota apartment with her powerful father, her beautiful mother, and a food obsesssion that consumed her.

Hunger comes in many forms. A person can crave a steak in the same way that she can crave a perfect family life. In her memoir, Crave: A Memoir of Food and Longing, Christine O'Brien tells the story of her own crav
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to St. Martin's Press who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

Christine Scherick O'Brien is the daughter of late ABC broadcast executive Ed Scherick, who brought TV shows such as "That Girl!", "Batman" and "Peyton Place" to the screen as well as movies like "The Stepford Wives" and "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three". While a young child in the sixties, Christine was living in the iconic New York building The Dakota (John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived there years later), watchin
Jena Henry
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Who is Christine O’Brien and what does she crave? After reading her memoir, I’m not sure.

But I do know that I enjoyed getting to know Christine and her family and I took pleasure in the well-tuned phrasing of this story. Although the book blurb promised painful revelations, I found instead the measured thoughts of a careful, good girl. I read this book over a few days, and when I had to put it down, I did so reluctantly and when I had time to read again, I looked forward to getting back to Chri
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
From the publisher ---
Christine O'Brien remembers growing up in NYC's famous Dakota apartment with her powerful father, her beautiful mother, and a food obsession that consumed her.

Hunger comes in many forms. A person can crave a steak in the same way that she can crave a perfect family life. In her memoir, “Crave: A Memoir of Food and Longing”, Christine O’Brien tells the story of her own c
Crave is very much a book of descriptions, descriptions of people, places, seasons. Early on, I began to long for more talk of feelings, instead of all of those descriptions. By the time the memoir got to extensively describing food and family meals, my interest in the story was seriously waning. Food became the focus of the author’s family, when obviously feelings were not being discussed. It was like reading a book about an eating disorder that affected everyone. I’m afraid I have no more inte ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a compelling telling of an interesting life, Christine draws you into her story and her family with ease. Every time I picked up Crave I found myself eager to find out what happened next-so much so that I finished in one day! Even though Carol was a flawed mother, you can’t help but root for her because Christine beautifully captures her complexity. Sick, but healthy. Vulnerable, but strong. It’s clear that Carol was bound and determined to make life better for her loved ones, no matter the ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Christine O’Brien’s writing is fabulously evocative with descriptions that compel you to turn the page, along with a gripping story that is as timely as it is deeply personal. Impossible to put down, and moving and resonant to the past page. I love this book!
Susan Pollock
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I cannot describe how moved I was by this beautifully crafted work. CRAVE is an extremely moving story of an eccentric family. It is exquisitely written and the reader is taken inside of this family's dynamic in the most intimate way. This author is a remarkable talent and the writing is so mesmerizing. She brought this reader into her orbit and kept me there throughout the book. Move over, Mary Karr. This is one of best memoirs I have read in years. I love this book. It could be a best seller, ...more
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A famous father, a health-obsessed mother and the iconic Dakota Apartments in NYC are just the beginning set up for what is a powerful memoir by author Christine O'Brien. Her skilled and delicately written story carries you in a dream-like state through childhood and into the resulting struggles and realizations she experienced as an adult.

O'Brien's story is as much her mother's as it is her own. Lovingly questioned as it is remembered-- searching, here in the written word, as it has been in rea
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Because this was a galley, I don't know if the formatting will change. Sometimes the author jumped around chronologically in a single chapter and it would make more sense to have line breaks or something. I also hope the print version has pictures.

This is a very interesting story about being raised by 2 very different parents and ultimately I was left wanting to know more!
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a crazy book about a crazy family. It was all over the place, chronologically, emotionally, historically. But in a crazy way, I really liked it. The author had a strange relationship with her mother but then, don't we all?
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I recieved this book as a Netgalley ARC. Crave is based on the life of Christine O'Brien as she grows up with a famous, angry father and a mother who strives for control by forcing an extreme diet on her family. It has lasting effects, positive and negative, on the author and her three siblings. I found the authors life to be very exotic and interesting, so much different than the way most people live. The flow of the story is off at times but I think editing will remedy that.
This is overall a
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This memoir was atypical, in that it wasn't a bad-mommy or bad-daddy -focused memoir. In fact, in a lot of ways, the author had a privileged childhood. As someone who grew up envying Buffy and Jody on A Family Affair, I was primed to envy Christine and her brothers in their huge, high-ceilinged Dakota apartment, partying with their parents' famous friends. However.

I'm about the same age as Christine, and honestly, whose father wasn't drinking and yelling in the evenings back then? A lot of us ha
Jill Blevins
This checked all the boxes for what I crave to read, but it left me kind of disappointed like a meal at Applebee's when I was promised Chez Panisse. It's like writing you've read a hundred times in any college writing course, although very polished, also very pedestrian and very forgetful. I wanted so badly to read this book. Eating issues, fancy New York apartments, rich and famous parents, neglect, hidden family dysfunction - what could be boring about that? She found a way. Too much self-indu ...more
George K. Ilsley
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
Thrown off by the subtitle here. You have to travel 100 pages in before food is mentioned. Even then the author struggles to foreground food issues. In fact, as she matures and moves to California her mother's food regime becomes normalized. Unfortunately this memoir deteriorates as it proceeds. By the end it is little more than a bland goulash thrown together with whatever comes to mind.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This memoir is refreshingly genuine and a wonderful read. Christine O’Brien holds her readers closely in her trust throughout the book. She kept a journal since she was a little girl, and I felt right there with her in age and perspective. Her father was undeniably brilliant and a tour de force in movie and TV production. His career achievements gave me both nostalgic and interesting glimpses into show business icons and classic productions of the era. Ironically, the book is set in real estate ...more
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
Christine grew up in the home of an ABC executive father and a former farm girl/beauty pageant queen mother. Her mother dealt with her bad-tempered husband by becoming obsessed with a "healthy" diet plan that included eating blended salad three times a day (I looked it up and it is a real thing). This memoir could have easily veered into "woe is me" area but she balanced the bad parts of her childhood with memories of parents that obviously cared for the children despite their flaws. At times he ...more
Jill Mackenzie
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was offered this book from my Book Of The Month club. This is one of the better memoirs that I have read in a very long time. This is great book for a book club, so much to discuss in this well written read !
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: from-brnri
This wasn't bad, but it couldn't decide what it wanted to be. No clear voice or intent.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book! I was totally captivated from the very beginning. It is richly layered and pulled me in deeper with each page. It was very difficult to put down. The scenes are so richly animated. I can visualize the movie! I actually want to read it again, something I most never do but am still processing the richly woven tapestry of words. From the Prologue - “Just tell a good story,” her mother said. She most certainly did. It is quite a masterpiece.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2018
I started this book, then put it down. Had to force myself to pick it back up and continue reading it. I was not a fan, and I’m rather shocked by all the 4 and 5 star reviews. I love memoirs and have read several... this memoir was so hard to get through. It was so disjointed and generally all over the place, it felt hard to follow and I had to go back and reread where I thought I missed a paragraph. Bizarre lifestyle but even then it felt like it mostly just touched on the part of her childhood ...more
Rosanne Page
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have a list of books written by new authors that I keep and recommend to friends. The book, Crave by Christine O'Brien will be added to that list.

Crave drew me in from the beginning and held my interest to the end. The book has many layers to it and Christine masterfully uncovers each one. The dietary restrictions that her mother enforced a.k.a. "the program",and how it affected the family and Christine personally is of course a main theme of the book. However, she als0 writes about her father
Susie Williams
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
(I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)

This book was quite different than what I expected, but still so very interesting. I am a huge fan of food memoirs, but this definitely isn't the type of food memoir I'm used to. In fact, it took almost a third of the book before food really started playing a part in the story. Even then, it's more about disordered eating, how to use food as a form of control, and how the ways in which your parents treat fo
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed this book!! This is an honest, genuine and almost raw account of growing up in what would seem to an outsider as a very privileged life. It is the “cycle of life” of Christine’s mother and father, and then how her life plays off of her relationship with them and their powerful influence and eccentricities. Christine’s beautiful descriptions paint a vivid picture of an unusual childhood with a genius but raging father and her mother’s attempt at control of their lives with a restrict ...more
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just finished this beautiful literary memoir in one sitting. I was glued to my seat - I loved loved LOVED it!! The author's voice shines through and it’s a lyrical, poetic and heart-wrenching voice that tells the tale. Beyond the smokey seventies glamour that framed her youth, beneath the surface of the grotesque Stepford like reality and complexity of her childhood, underneath the misogyny, the green sludge she was force-fed and enemas endured, there is a softer underbelly to O’Brien’s prose th ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, dnf
I chose this because the description caught my eye, and it seemed a short read at only 288 pages. Unfortunately, Crave left much to be desired very early on. Personally, I do not like overly descriptive books. That's not to say I want them overly vague as well, but I would prefer to see the story unfold in my mind as opposed to be given every last detail about... everything. Places, people, things. It's too much.

The story also felt disjointed from the start. There is a constant flip flop betwee
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed Christine O'Brien’s memoir, Crave. She and her three brothers simultaneously experienced a childhood filled with privilege and deprivation.

This beautifully crafted book takes the reader on O’Brien's complex journey to independence and self-awakening. Untangling herself from a controlling, but troubled mother is a challenging process. It’s finally through marriage, motherhood and a home situated on the wild hillsides of Northern California that the author blossoms into her ow
Mimi Fintel
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This memoir was written by the daughter of Ed Scherick, the successful TV and film producer who created shows and films like ABC's Wide World of Sports and The Stepford Wives. Mr. Scherick was a man with an explosive temper. His lovely wife, Carol, had survived a horrific accident when she was a child and after she was married had four children and an angry husband to deal with. It seemed she needed a way to control what must have felt to her like an out of control life. Carol began to embrace a ...more
Author Christine O’Brien artfully describes a childhood spent somewhere in the figurative space between celebrity and abuse; she is not quite certain herself and leaves her readers unclear as well. Her father was unknown outside of the entertainment industry, yet his work entertained the public widely in the mid and late 20th Century. Her mother was a fragile beauty whose health and insecurities led her towards alternative treatments with such gusto that she lost sight of any balance. O’Brien wa ...more
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review. For some reason, I had assumed that this book would be about the author's eating disorder but that really simplifies what it was about. This is O'Brien's story of years of her mother's trying to control their environment and her children's health through their diet. O'Brien's father was a famous producer and her mother was from a farm in the Midwest -the two fought frequently and their home was ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir! I found it to move quickly and overall thought it was hard to put down, which is always a plus. I wanted to know more about Christine's life growing up in a wealthy household headed by two parents with strikingly different personalities. It's an intriguing look into an outwardly privileged life, but in reality one full of hunger and craving... Feelings you'd think weren't part of a privileged life. I do have one slightly minor complaint about the layout of the b ...more
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