One of the biggest nonfiction titles last year in terms of buzz and sales was Geneen Roth's Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything.
This was, of course, because it was an Oprah title. And although I am no fan of Oprah or her book choices, I realized in January that I was eating some leftover Christmas cookies not because I was hungry or even peckish, but rather because I was bored and antsy. So I thought, well, maybe this book will have something to say about eating to fill holes other than one's stomach.*
So, because I knew I probably wasn't going to have the interest to read the whole thing, I did that type of nonfiction reading I do when I want to get the basics of a book but don't necessarily want to read every line of it: I kind of skim-read it for a while. But, honestly, I made it to page 62, and I still have no idea what Roth is saying, or what the point of her book is. The book jacket tells me that Roth posits that "the way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive."** Well, okay. But trust me: that doesn't exactly make for compelling storytelling. As far as I can tell, Roth's claim to fame is gaining and losing more than a thousand pounds over her lifetime, and now she teaches seminars basically telling women to lose weight by stopping trying to lose weight. There's a lot of sentences like this:
"When I first meet people who come to my retreat, I see those same beliefs funneled through the relationship with food. As if punishing themselves with dietary rigors will make up for something inherently damaged, fundamentally wrong with their very existence. Being thin becomes The Test. Losing weight becomes their religion." (p. 63.)
Okay. There's nothing wrong with that. I can support a woman who just wants us to have a normal relationship with our food as food. It's just that this book isn't particularly interesting, or personal, or helpful. I've skimmed the whole thing now and about the best line I can find to nutshell it for you is on page 161: "eat what your body wants when you're hungry, stop when you've had enough." The rest of it just seems like a big ad for Geneen Roth Retreats or seminars or whatever.
*I do plenty of eating when I AM hungry and/or peckish, and I am hungry a lot, so I really can't afford to start eating when I'm not hungry if I ever want to fit back into my pre-CRjr fat jeans.***
**I'll buy this. I eat candy, chocolate, and cookies like one of my core beliefs is that someday they won't exist any more. Or, more likely with this economy, I won't be able to afford them any more.
***You read that right. I'm still not even back in my previous FAT jeans. So sad. I don't weigh all that much more, it's just that stuff has...shifted. Sigh.