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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Ravenous: A Food Lover's Journey from Obsession to Freedom » User review

Enjoyed it, but feel it didn't fully live up to its (sub)title.

  • Apr 9, 2011
While I quite enjoyed what the author had to say and could relate to her experiences and feelings, I felt that the book didn't fully deliver on the promise in its subtitle--a food lover's journey from obsession to freedom. Instead, it feels like a group of essays, each about a specific type of food, by this former writer for Salon.com (currently writing for Yoga Journal) interspersed with personal memories of food obsession.

I "get" what the author was going for--showing how learning more about the food she eats helped her recover from obsessing about it--but the food bits and the memory bits are not, for me, integrated well enough. They feel like she said "Hey, I have these essays I wrote for my job...and I can just throw in some personal memories and I will have a book!" Well, not really. I found it lacking in flow and also in a clear explanation of the process that led her to conquering her food addiction (it is inferred, but not clearly explained, in my opinion).

All that said, I very much enjoyed the author's writing--both the memory bits and the food bits. The food essays were educational because they went to the root of how the food is produced or provided more information about the food. Many of her memories rang true for me. In fact, it sometimes sounded like we'd grown up in the same household! One of my favorite passages, where the author discusses measuring the food she eats, demonstrates her writing skill as well as her passion and honesty on the subject:

"Measuring, by its nature, requires me to pay attention to every portion. Measuring forms a container for my longings and boundaries for my lust. Without boundaries, I cannot find balance. Without limits, I cannot hope to be free."

With America's obsession with fat and food and weight loss, a book subtitle promising how someone got from food obsession to freedom is going to be very attractive. I'm sure it was designed that way, if not by the author then by the publisher. I understand they want to sell books and make money, but misleading the reading public is a hot-button issue for me and I wish this book did a better job of delivering on the promise of its subtitle.

Writing quality (not including organization of subject matter) - 5 stars
Honesty/openness and passion for the subject - 5 stars
Lack of a cohesion/flow in relating the journey - 2.5 stars
Lack of a clear explanation of how she got from point A to point B - 3 stars

Score for the book overall - 3 3/4 stars (rounded to 4 since Amazon ratings do not allow for fractions)

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April 10, 2012
The subject matter is topical.
October 04, 2011
Great review, Sheri! Sounds like a fun subject matter- too bad about the flow and lack of clear explanation, though.
October 04, 2011
Thanks for the comment and compliment, dj!
June 19, 2011
Thanks Devora amd Fionna!
June 17, 2011
Pity about the flow of the book, but the subject matter sounds really interesting. I might have to check it out!
April 26, 2011
Very thorough review!
April 26, 2011
Thanks, Adrianna! :)
April 27, 2011
Welcome! :D
June 20, 2011
I know....I need to take pointers from you two when it comes to reviewing books... :)
June 28, 2011
LOL! You do a fantastic job reviewing books, William. You're just looking for compliments. ;)
About the reviewer
Sheri ()
Ranked #69
I have been a customer reviewer on Amazon.com for well over a decade and an Amazon Vine reviewer since the program began. I enjoy writing product reviews that will help customers make a buying decision. … more
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About this book


“Food as protection, comfort, pleasure, and love, a defense against deprivation, a buffer against pain—so many of us will recognize our insatiable hungers in Dayna Macy’s quest to understand her own. But the real appeal of Ravenous is Macy’s voice: her candor and humility, her curious mind and storyteller’s clarity, and the open, generous heart she brings to her tale of learning to find peace with her appetite and her body.”

— Kate Moses, author of Cakewalk

Ravenous is among the most engaging, fun, and insightful books about appetite you’ll ever read. A wonderful mélange of memoir (what a family!), recipes (you can taste them), the exploration of food production (slow, local, artisanal, organic) topped off by uncommonly delicious writing.”

— Sue Halpern, author of Can’t Remember What I Forgot

“This rich, compelling book follows a woman’s search for balance, and ultimately, freedom, in her relationship to food. Macy’s writing is strong and beautiful, every page filled with risk and integrity. I truly loved Ravenous. It’s a real accomplishment.”

— Kim Chernin, author of In My Mother’s House

Ravenous is the journey of a courageous, smart, beautiful woman who learned that there is no final answer—but that the inquiry itself, the work of being and growing and accepting, is the salve that heals the heart. Macy’s ...

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ISBN-10: 9781401926915
ISBN-13: 978-1401926915
Author: Dayna Macy
Genre: Health, Mind & Body
Publisher: Hay House
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