Food and Loathing: A Lament

Food and Loathing: A Lament

by Betsy Lerner
3.6 5

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Food and Loathing: A Lament by Betsy Lerner

Never before Food and Loathing has the intimate relationship between mood swings and food swings been so honestly chronicled. As a bright but chubby girl, Betsy Lerner believed that thinness was the key to success with friends and boys. By junior high, she had precisely divided the world of food into two camps: the dietetic and the forbidden. Becoming a member of the then-fledgling Overeaters Anonymous, she formed a cult-like devotion to the program and lost fifty pounds in a matter of months, only to gain it all back and more. "I am powerless over Hostess cakes," she writes, "and my life has become unmanageable."

Her twenties are marked by yo-yo dieting, depressive episodes, and a sadistic shrink who dubs her "the boy who cried wolf." Then, just as Lerner begins to realize her dream of becoming a writer, entering Columbia's prestigious MFA program, she spirals into a suicidal depression and lands at New York State Psychiatric Institute. There, a young doctor helps her take her first steps toward selfhood and unraveling the dual legacy of compulsion and depression.

A powerfully rendered story for anyone who has every wielded a fork in despair or calculated her worth on the morning scale.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743265676
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 02/04/2003
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,121,143
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Betsy Lerner holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia University. She is the recipient of the Thomas Wolfe Poetry Prize and an Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize, and was selected as one of PEN's Emerging Writers in 1987. She is the author of The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.


Pelham, New York

Date of Birth:

August 9, 1960


B.A., New York University, 1982; M.F.A., Columbia University, 1987

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Food and Loathing: A Life Measured Out in Calories 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Soledad101 More than 1 year ago
Summary: Food and loathing is a memoir of Betsy Lerner's struggle with manic- depression and compulsive over-eating. Throughout her life, she fully determined her self-worth merely by the number on the scale. She landed in a "Loony Bin" for 6 months; shortly afterward she got diagnosed with "classic bi-polar" and a prescription to lithium. She does a pretty good job on putting her life together, though she still struggles with her weight, taking meds, and her manic-depression. Major themes: I think Betsy's memoir is a symbol of a cycle of which some people render themselves into in their early years, as Betsy did. People let something define them, and go their whole lives thinking their worth means whatever they set their sights on. In Betsy's case, her worth was the number on the scale. This is a classic story of how her life falls apart completely, and she herself puts it back together. Dislikes: A lot of the book seemed to drag on, and most of the book was describing the way people look and Betsy analyzing and critizizing people's look and weight. And her self- loathing was depressing. Likes: I liked that she finally accepted her disorder. I know that her writing about her life may not have been possible for her to do in the earlier stages of her life, and she grew up to be a strong person, and I respect her as a person very much. Why someone should/should not read this: I would not reccomend this book to most people because it really drags on and I felt like my imagination did not connect with it very well. Overall rating: 2 on a scale of 1-10. (10 being the highest. 1 being the lowest.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Food and Loathing is a woman's story discussing her eating problem and the things she had to go through her entire life. She has trouble with controlling her weight which eventually drives her to serious mental problems. This was a very touching and inspirational book which leaves people thinking that appearance isn't everything. Women especially struggling with their weight and go through many self esteem problems. This book spoke to me a lot and showed me that image isn't everything. Personally I really enjoyed it, it was very interesting and had a lot of very important messages. Other women should think about reading this to show them that they are special no matter what flaws they have with there body. Every woman is beautiful no matter what. I give this book a very goo rating and would definitely recommend it to any person.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, a memoir we can digest on eating disorders and mental illness. A clearly written, very focused warm story of one woman's journey from the edge and back, and her view at this point into where she was...