Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: The Man Who Couldn't Eat by Jon Reiner

The Man Who Couldn't Eat by Jon Reiner
Publish Date: September 6, 2011
Hardcover, 320 pages 
Non-Fiction, Memoir
 ISBN: 978-1439192467

My Review:
I found The Man Who Couldn't Eat to be a raw and heartfelt look at what it feels like to deal with chronic illness and more specifically to deal with an incident that changes your life such as the one that Jon Reiner had in 2009.  Though the book is not all about that one time, it's really built more into a stream of consciousness of his life to this point and then after that point as well.  That was  probably my one complaint.  The jumping back and forth in time confused me in the beginning, but the more I got use to the rhythm of his writing the more I came to expect how he wrote and dealt with the back and forth and found it an interesting way to keep the readers attention.  So what I thought was a a complaint in the beginning, turned into something that held my interest through the book. 

Mr. Reiner has a great sense of humor to have been through all that he has been through, but then again sometimes your sense of humor is the only thing that can keep you going.  His sense of humor comes through in the book, not in a laugh-out-loud way, but in a dry, understated way that I like that doesn't take away from the seriousness of the subject matter.  He did face a life-or-death situation, though I think I would have preferred death if I would have had some of his roommates after surgery (I'm joking, though read about the roommates and you'll understand).  As he explores the life after the surgery and life without food, life adding food back in and then also life with chronic illness and balancing a family, you get a sense for what life is truly like for him.  And in seeing this I think you can get a glimpse into what life is like for a lot of people with chronic illness and this is where I think his book does the most good.  Maybe I say that because I have a chronic illness.  But I really felt it reading the book.  Jon's chronic illness did not just affect him, thought it did affect him the most.  It also affected his wife, his children, his parents and his extended family.  It made it hard for him to keep a job.  It really affected all areas of his life, but he never gave up.  And that is the amazing and wonderful thing.

I think this book is educational, entertaining and inspirational whether you have a chronic illness or not.  I'm sure you know someone who does.  I should probably spout off a statistic here, but I'm lazy and in the middle of my own flare up so I won't. But as you know from drug ads on TV that there are plenty of chronic illnesses to go around.  Not all will land someone in the hospital for surgery, but all will make someone suffer in silence (or as my husband will tell you I don't suffer in silence).  Jon Reiner speaks out about his suffering and in doing so I think he empowers millions of sufferers to say I suffer too, but I will get up today and move forward and make the most of my life.  That is all we can do.  That is all anyone, sick or healthy can do.

Read the book, it has great entertaining anecdotes throughout.  I loved the little stories throughout - the glimpses of childhood, the glimpses of other hospitalizations, the glimpses of his own children and his fears for them.  It all adds up to a book that's about an ordinary man with a horrible disease who chose to write his story and put it out there for us to read about.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Make sure to stop back by on Tuesday, November 22nd for an interview with author Jon Reiner.

About the Book:
Imagine a life without food. Not being able to eat or drink a single thing. No hot dog at the ballpark; no ice cold drink on a hot summer day; no birthday cake; nothing.

For three months, James Beard Foundation Award-winning writer, Jon Reiner went without food and drink and chronicled his struggle in, The Man Who Couldn't Eat (September 2011). We're helping Jon prepare a blog tour for October and November and would like to invite you to be part of it.

Based on Reiner's acclaimed Esquire magazine article by the same name, Reiner writes in his book about his obsession with food and what happened when he was denied the taste of it. He'd just returned home with the week's groceries- one of the tasks he enjoyed as a stay-at-home dad- when a near-fatal complication from his chronic battle with Chron's disease left him writhing in pain on the floor. After emergency surgery, Reiner was "sentenced" to receive his nourishment intravenously.

Already struggling with his relationship with his wife and children as a result of coping with his chronic illness, he was also unemployed and facing financial ruin. It was this food deprivation that forced Reiner to reevaluate everything.  A beautifully written chronicle of one man's journey from plenty to deprivation and back again, The Man Who Couldn't Eat will change the way you think about more than just your next meal.

Where to Find the Author: 

Where to Find the Book:

FTC Information: I received this book from Book Sparks PR for an honest review.


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