Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

16128105Edison is a Jazz pianist who left home at 17 to go to New York to make it big. His sister Pandora was always the quiet one who loved her brother and enjoyed living vicariously through him. She has always wanted to go unnoticed and live life. She had a successful catering business and loved cooking for her husband and his two children. She then moved on to another very successful business of custom made dolls. While her star was rising, unknown to her, her brothers star had fallen. She gets a call from a friend of her brothers telling her that she needs to help Edison, whom she hasn’t seen in 4 years. In that time Edison has gained over 200 pounds.

Pandora’s husband Fletcher has an over the top view of healthy eating , so much that as healthy as he eats Pandora and his children try not to. Fletcher goes to the point of denying himself anything unhealthy out of spite to his wife. He goes on 50 mile bike rides and pretty much bashes her choice of food.

There is so much plot in this book and I can’t really do justice to it but mostly this book is about food, our unhealthy association with it. This book deals with obesity, extreme diets, under eating, over eating and everything in between

Ms Shriver brings to the table the views of how we eat and to a point, how we taste/not taste what we eat. It also shows how food can alter family dynamics as with Fletcher and his children and with Pandora’s view of her extra 20 pound weight gain. This book deals with siblings as well, how each deal with the way their lives are going. It focuses a lot of how society deals with obesity and how women view their bodies if they aren’t the ideal. This book gets ugly at times emotionally. Sibling rivalry, dysfunctional families, addictive personalities abound in this book but so does love, humor, empathy and compassion. There is just so much going on.

I love Lionel Shriver and I think she did an amazing job highlighting these issues.

5/5 stars


Buy: Amazon

Buy: Nook



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