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Hardcover The Hungry Years: Confessions of a Food Addict Book

ISBN: 1592401554

ISBN13: 9781592401550

The Hungry Years: Confessions of a Food Addict

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Book Overview

A story of food, fat and addiction that is both funny and heart-wrenching: it will change the way you look at food forever This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Finally Takes a (British) Man to Question this "Extreme Makeover" Culture!

William Leith gets it. While this culture disingenuously and hypocritically tsk-tsks over scary skinny Hollywood and New York starlets, and prepubescent anorexia cases; the height of this obsession has started to migrate across the pond--to England. So, we have a scathing diatribe against externalities of any sort, including dieting. (And especially plastic surgery!) Even credit cards and cell phones! Dieting will give you a substitute slim body with which you could appear not to have ever stuffed your face and/or had problems. Cell phones image to the world that you are oh-so-very-well-connected!! (I do not own a cell phone, and will use someone else's only if paid to do so.) Don't even get me started on plastic surgery--suffice to say, I am fine with my droopy facial skin. All of these external changes function as fashion statements. These fashion statements contribute to surface, ersatz existences! Leith probably has the resources and much of the gumption to have afforded a personal trainer to help him physically work out some of his body image issues and obsession with fashion (usually women's territory)--instead, with formidable intellectual courage, he explores his own emotional history and, with the help of low-carbing, loses weight. One of the main reasons I personally choose to live in my current ersatz body has been medical issues, which were not brought about by excess weight, but are aggravated by it. However, I am on a high-carb diet--it's much tougher at first, but all roads eventually lead to the same end--restrictions and strait jackets. This book was written as an object lesson. It should be required reading for therapists, dietitians, nutrition coaches and weight loss group entrepreneurs (but it probably won't be). In any case, as a woman I got the message, whether intended or not.

A Smoothly-Written Chronicle of Addiction

William Leith's The Hungry Years, written in smooth, stream-of-consciousness prose, is a chronicle of the author's addictions, principally to food but also to alcohol and drugs. Leith writes about bingeing and being fat (a word he injects into the narrative at every opportunity), about feeling fat even during his thin periods, about dieting--losing weight and gaining more back, losing and gaining. His history is punctuated by lapses into unthinking consumption, gluttony on a scale that may surprise his more abstemious readers. During the period covered in the book Leith is attempting to lose weight on yet another diet, this time the low-carbohydrate Atkins plan. While chronicling his progress and backsliding on Atkins Leith gives a fractured account of his life, which in turn illuminates his addictions: unhappy years in boarding school, a series of unhappy relationships. Throughout, Leith is searching for the underlying cause of his addictions: he is smart enough to recognize that whatever his current condition--fat or thin or drunk or not--however successfully he may be treating his symptoms, he is basically unhappy. However much he loses this time on Atkins, in other words, diet alone can't truly help him. In the course of writing this staggeringly personal, and sometimes amusing, account of himself, Leith wanders also into related topics. He writes about French fry production and celebrity diets (Robbie Coltrane, "Hagrid" in the Harry Potter films, will not appreciate his mentions here), about pain killers and plastic surgery. (Leith's graphic description of the last should dissuade any but the most intractably vain from undergoing elective procedures.) In the end Leith's various ruminations come together into a coherent whole. The book succeeds as a readable exploration of both the West's culture of consumption and its author's demons--wounded by book's end, if not yet slain. Reviewed by Debra Hamel, author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece

Fast-paced Memoir about Compulsivity and Self Discovery

Leith's book is a powerful read for anyone who has grappled with compulsive behavior. His memoir reads like a stream-of-conscious odyssey of a bright guy struggling to master his relationship to external desires for food, alcohol, drugs, and women. In the end, he discovers that his goal of mastery may have been misguided, and that his compulsivity may be more about his need for emotional calm than external pleasure. Leith's book is funny, intelligent, and, in the end, optimistic. While the book tends to get bogged down when the author spends too much time explaining the ins and outs of the Atkins diet and the theory that supports it, it is a generally fast moving read that engages the reader.
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