Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ravenous: A Food Lover's Journey from Obsession to Freedom, by Dayna Macy

Barnes & Noble

What should I eat? How much should I eat? What does it mean to be nourished? How can I, a food lover and lifelong overeater, learn to be satisfied? These are the questions Dayna Macy asks in her debut memoir, "Ravenous."

Like the author, I have struggled with obsessive eating my whole life and wondered "why?"

I am grateful that the author doesn't have any "secret" at the end of the book. I find that refreshingly honest in a genre where authors like to wrap things up with a pretty bow at the end; real life is rarely like that. Other reviewers were disappointed that there was no "secret" and gave the book a lower rating for it. Macy, however, made it very clear that there IS NO SECRET. She knows she's not the first person to figure this out, and she does not claim to be the first to discover journaling and portion control.

There were several passages that really spoke to me and helped me reframe how I think about food and what I put in to my body. I will be doing further reading on Ayurvedic practice, as Macy's description of the healing properties have really intrigued me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Child Called "It" (Dave Pelzer #1), by Dave Pelzer

Barnes & Noble

This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games--games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it."

Dave's bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive--dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son.

Good lord. For such a harrowing topic, you would think that you'd feel some sort of emotion when reading this book. Everything is written with a clinical slant: "mom did this and then this. then the next day, mom..." over and over again, throughout the entire book. It's supposed to be from the point of view of an abused child, but the voice is way too adult and therefore comes across too business-like.

I don't really understand the point of this book. It's a recap of all sorts of horrible abuse, but that's about it. No understanding as to what made is mother turn into an abuser, nor why his father ignored the situation.

It's a shame that this was so poorly written. It could have been very compelling.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal, by Mal Peet


Barnes & Noble

When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War -- and unraveling it is about to transform Tamar’s life forever.

From acclaimed British sensation Mal Peet comes a masterful story of adventure, love, secrets, and betrayal in time of war, both past and present.


I purchased this book as part of the Kindle Daily Deal and wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'm really glad I decided to buy it, though.

The book starts in the middle of the story, where we learn how the protagonist got her name. From there, the story alternates between the mid-1940s to 1995. It alternates between multiple POVs, which I think really makes the book stand out.

Like most wartime historical fiction novels, this was not always an uplifting read. It's hard to read about people doing atrocious things to other people. The closer you get to the end of the war--and therefore the book--the more uncomfortable the situations. I felt very nervous for the characters and was very upset with how some of the scenes turned out.

At times, I felt like it was very obvious how the story would play out, but Peet kept me guessing and questioning my assumptions until the end.

Definitely a worthwhile read.