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Unbeknownst to food critic Sheila Himmel-as she reviewed exotic cuisines from bistro to brasserie- her daughter, Lisa, was at home starving herself. Before Sheila fully grasped what was happening, her 14-year-old with a thirst for life and a palate for the flavors of Vietnam and Afghanistan was replaced by a weight-obsessed, antisocial, 100 pound 19-year-old. From anorexia to bulimia and back again - many times - the Himmels feared for Lisa's life as her disorder took its toll on her physical and emotional well-being.
Hungry is the first memoir to connect eating disorders with a food-obsessed culture in a very personal way, following the stumbles, the heartbreaks, and even the funny moments as a mother-daughter relationship - and an entire family - struggles toward healing.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 09-23-13
Not at all what I expected
Having had past struggles with food issues as well as watching friends struggle I like to read and listen to books that depict others stories of recovery. This is not that book. Although touted as the story of a Mother/Daughter struggle very little is heard from Lisa and much is heard from her mother about her life as a food critic and the history and psychology of eating and why we eat with many, many references to other's books. It makes me think that they advertised this as a memoir to sell more books. I'll be returning mine and hope that Lisa is doing well in her recovery as I won't be making it to the end of this book to find out.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Anna on 12-16-16
Not an eating disorder memoir
This book is sold as an eating disorder memoir, but it's much closer to a memoir of Sheila Himmel's life and illustrious food writing career, which happened to be heavily affected by her daughter's eating disorder. Large portions of the book are devoted to Sheila's childhood, career path, professional accomplishments, and in-depth looks at her mindset and point of view, whereas we catch what seem like only superficial glances into her daughter's experience of her eating disorder or treatment. Events that you might expect to be detailed and analyzed by Lisa -- her hospitalizations, her relapses, for instance -- are instead mostly explained from an outside perspective by her mother. Other events, such as Sheila's investigative story on a restaurant which served pork passed off as veal, were told in much greater detail. There are also lengthy chapters solely discussing cultural phenomena around eating (not even eating disorders) and ED treatment. These chapters might be more valuable if they came from studied experts in the field of eating disorders as opposed to this random mom who had one experience with her child and decided she knew everything.
Hungry is strangely organized, unfocused, slow-paced, and irritating. Do not read this if you are interested in an eating disorder memoir and/of insights into the mind of a sufferer.