Sunday, January 06, 2013

Book Review: The Middlesteins

Hardcover: 288 pages (272 of main text)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (October 23, 2012)

The Middlesteins is the creation of Jami Attenberg.  To say that this is the story of a very dysfunctional Jewish family would be putting it lightly.

This is a story about Edie and Richard Middlestein, a married couple living in the Chicago suburbs.  Edie has a problem.  She cannot stop eating.  Because of this, Richard falls out of love with her and leaves.

This causes a problem.  Their daughter, Robin, is not the least bit happy about this and it changes her entire relationship with her father.  Their son, Benny, and daughter-in-law, Rachelle, try to do what they can to have a relationship with both and try and save Edie's life.

It isn't enough.  Regardless of that, Attenberg uses "pitch-perfect prose, huge compassion, and sly humor" to bring us only what can be described as "an epic story of marriage, family, and obsession."

While I enjoyed reading this book, it's that final chapter that really got to my emotions.  It isn't just the storytelling that got to me but the sympathy, too.

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