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A comic and tragic tour de force set around a Jewish suburban family,
This review is from: The Middlesteins (Paperback)
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I loved this book which explores the paradox of the desire to nourish our relatives and the adverse effects that can arise when this is done to excess. At the centre of the story is 60 year old Edie who has been retired from her work in a Chicago law firm because of her excessive weight. Edie is literally eating herself to death, suffering from severe diabetes and other related illnesses. Retirement has not brought her any sense of needing to get a grip on her eating habits, but rather the opposite: increased opportunities to gorge herself on sandwiches, crisps and biscuits. Soon she is a regular customer at a nearby Chinese restaurant, compounding her problem and her rapidly expanding girth leads her husband to file for divorce.
This situation provides the author Jamie Attenberg with an opportunity to explore the various lives of this Jewish suburban family, which he does to spectacularly entertaining effect. For Edie may be the pivot of this story, but the other family members are equally interesting characters and Attenberg provides a wealth of fascinating topics as the family and those around them go through various episodes of a both comic and tragic nature.
Attenburg has created a tour de force of an evocation of a troubled Jewish family. I loved the way that the situation they find themselves in is explored through the individual voices of each family member and I cannot think of a book which has given me such a varied reading experience. A fantastic novel well worth it's many 5 star reviews.