NPR stories about The Middlesteins
At the heart of this novel is the sad truth that relationships with food, complicated and all-consuming as they can be, can wreak havoc on a marriage, a family and, of course, on a body. Edie Middlestein, our protagonist, is 5 years old and already 62 pounds when the novel begins, and upward of 332 as an adult when it ends. In between, she eats and eats and eats, and we learn the ways in which her eating has damaged her daughter, her husband, and even her relationship with her grandchildren.
Edie Middlestein was taught to equate food with love, with disastrous consequences. She's ballooned to more than 300 pounds, faces serious health issues, and her husband has left her. But how has the family been doing? Don't worry about them. Her husband, Richard, is vilified and flailing in his search for love; daughter Robin has a serious drinking problem; and son Benny is under the thumb of his perfectionist wife. Can this dysfunctional family at least make a show of functioning in time