Feed Me: Writers Dish About Food, Eating, Weight, and Body Image

I always bring too many books and too many groceries with me when I go away to write.

This year there was a special twist in that the title of Harriet Brown's new book, "Feed Me" served as a personal theme for the week: when I go away alone I do so partly to re-learn what it is that I think about, enjoy, read, write, and EAT when I have no one to please but myself.

Turns out avocados and fish and chocolate-covered almonds feature prominently on the eating part. Virginia Woolf, Elie Wiesel, Geraldine Brooks, and Peg Tyre found their way to the top of the reading - along with a book of journal entries by 16 and 17th century Southerners. With Harriet's book I had the pleasure of a number of thinkers in bite-sized snacks.

I like and respect Brown, so I was sure I would enjoy the essays and knew going in that I would not waste my time with poor writing or thinking. I did have a bit of trepidation about the issue of body image and eating disorders, as I fall into a different way of looking at that issue than many of even my allies in the ED world. As a feminist raised by feminists among feminists, I wasn't expecting new ground on that issue, and I guessed I would simply be the choir to which one preached and walk away happy.

All this is preface to say that even with high expectations I got MORE than I expected, and highly endorse the book! Brown lets the writers speak, and has compiled voices that are neither dogmatic nor run through an ideological test. These are very personal and unique essays, and each poses questions rather than lectures or postures. I am so weary of positions and positioning instead of thinking and feeling.

There is a lot of feeling here. Some essays have stayed with me since I read them in particular: Diana Abu-Jaber's especially. Also Joyce Maynard, Jenny Allen, and Anne Hood. Then there is the witty and irreverent piece by Brown as well.

As an activist, it is a constant temptation to make everything about my causes and my beliefs and arguing for certain truths. But as a reader and a person that is sloppy and unsatisfying. Better to surround oneself with good thinking, and listen fully. What comes out, as in this anthology, is like a week of good meals.


  1. Sometimes (ok,lots of times) you really impress me; I hear so much of the "ed's are a brain disorder, end of story..., blah, blah, blah" from you, it's nice to see that you can actually appreciate some other people's perspectives without feeling threatened by it or getting all defensive from thinking that families are going to be blamed in some way, shape or form. Thanks for that, I love reading this forum,


  2. Why, thank you... bla bla bla end of story!

    Seriously: thank you!

  3. Aw, thanks for the nice shoutout, Laura. I'm very glad you enjoyed the book.


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