Sunday, August 11, 2013

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

When Pandora goes to pick up her brother, Edison, for a visit, she doesn't recognize him when she sees him at the airport. Edison has put on several hundred pounds since she saw him and is obese. Pandora knew he was down on his luck; that's the purpose of this visit, to give him time to regroup as well as time for them to catch up. But she had no idea about the weight gain or the changes in Edison's personality that the weight had made.

Edison is a jazz pianist, or as Pandora finds out, was a jazz pianist. Her husband, Fletcher, is not happy with the visit. He makes high end furniture and is a food fanatic; one of those people who watches every bite he puts in his mouth and is prone to fad diets; gluten free this week, a raw diet next week. He is totally repulsed by Edison, even more as Edison cooks huge meals, uses up all the food in the house and expects handouts. After two months, Fletcher puts down his foot. Pandora must put Edison back on the plane to New York if she wants to maintain their marriage.

But Pandora sees someone in need, someone who needs her more than Fletcher and her two stepchildren. She makes a deal with Edison. She will move in with him into an apartment and together they will go on diets. She estimates that it will take Edison a year to lose the extra weight and is willing to keep up this lifestyle for that period of time.

Lionel Shriver has linked into the issues that we all have surrounding weight. The obese are easy targets, and sometimes feel that they are the last minority group it is safe to discriminate against. She also covers the issues of body image, family relationships, and what one will do for a family member. She covers all the diets and the realization by one who loses a great deal of weight that it is an accomplishment, but not one that can make a life. Readers will find this a thought-provoking read that will make them examine their own attitudes about weight and self-image. This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and those interested in family relationships.

1 comment:

Wendy Unsworth said...

Sounds unusual and interesting - will definitely add to my to-reads. thank you!