Food and Loathing: A Lament

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Simon & Schuster, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 290 pages
2 Reviews
Never before Food and Loathing has the intimate relationship between mood swings and food swings been so honestly chronicled. As a bright but chubby girl, Betsy Lerner believed that thinness was the key to success with friends and boys. By junior high, she had precisely divided the world of food into two camps: the dietetic and the forbidden. Becoming a member of the then-fledgling Overeaters Anonymous, she formed a cult-like devotion to the program and lost fifty pounds in a matter of months, only to gain it all back and more. "I am powerless over Hostess cakes," she writes, "and my life has become unmanageable." Her twenties are marked by yo-yo dieting, depressive episodes, and a sadistic shrink who dubs her "the boy who cried wolf." Then, just as Lerner begins to realize her dream of becoming a writer, entering Columbia's prestigious MFA program, she spirals into a suicidal depression and lands at New York State Psychiatric Institute. There, a young doctor helps her take her first steps toward selfhood and unraveling the dual legacy of compulsion and depression. A powerfully rendered story for anyone who has every wielded a fork in despair or calculated her worth on the morning scale.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Another graphic dispatch from the food wars, as poet, editor, and now literary agent Lerner details the insidious effects of compulsive eating on the body and psyche.The second girl in a family that ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ghostwire - LibraryThing

Lerner's battle with compulsive eating and depression is one too many of us can relate to. She writes with a wry candidness and self-deprecating humor, setting it apart from similar stories that get ... Read full review


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About the author (2003)

Betsy Lerner holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia University. She is the recipient of the Thomas Wolfe Poetry Prize from New York University and an Academy of American Poets Prize, and was selected as one of PEN's Emerging Writers in 1987. A former book editor who is currently a literary agent, she is the author of The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers. She lives in New York City.

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