The Middlesteins

by Jami Attenberg

The Middlesteins

Paperback, 287 pages, Grand Central Pub, List Price: $15 | purchase


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Book Summary

Edie Middlestein equates food with love. But by the time her husband walks out and leaves her reeling, her weight has ballooned to more than 300 pounds. In this darkly comic novel, Edie's children try to take control of their mother's food obsession in order to save her life. But the siblings have very different personalities. Between Robin's drinking problem and Benny's perfectionist wife, will they be able to save their mother from her eating disorder? And can this dysfunctional family get their act together in time to do a hip-hop routine at the grandkids' bar and bat mitzvahs?

NPR stories about The Middlesteins

Three Books...

What's Cooking? 3 Books That Are More Filling Than Food

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.

Jessica Soffer

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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

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