Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: Stories and Other Acts of Liberation by Elizabeth Berg

Genre: Fiction

This is from…

Food is the source of both solace and misery for Berg’s smart, ticked-off, secretly dreamy yet demonstrably pragmatic women. Most are past 50 and less than happy with their altered bodies. They dutifully attend deadly Weight Watchers meetings, cheat wildly on their diets, then try, once again, to stay away from brownies and fast food. The binge story, “The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted,” is matched by “The Day I Ate Nothing I Remotely Wanted,” and clearly the insatiable appetite for rich and comforting foods stems from a deeper hunger for enveloping and sustaining love. This is adored author Berg’s second story collection, separated from the first, Ordinary Life (2002), by seven novels, and once again she makes striking use of the shorter form. Her stories are deliciously piquant and deceptively blithe, just as the respectable appearances of her women characters conceal fierce inner lives. Berg zeros in on the routine unfairness women face, and the anguish and irony of age and family relationships, as her bawdy, scheming, outspoken, and loyal women persevere, often finding the humorous side of difficult predicaments. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

I listened to the audio version of this book which was really nice because it was narrated by the author. I figure who can tell a story better than the person who wrote it?

My favorite stories were the ones dealing with weight issues. I guess because I’m a lifetime member of Weight Watchers (I lost 85 lbs and have maintained my goal weight for a year) so I can identify with the trials and tribulations of dieting. I was laughing in my car when the woman in one story decided to be totally anti-Weight Watchers and just eat anything and everything she wanted. I was especially salivating when she bought dozens of Dunkin Donuts. Yum! Anyway, I digress…this was a nice diversion. Lately, I seem to be listening to stories that could be about any everyday person out there and its been a nice change.

For reading challenge: Audio Book Reading Challenge


  1. Sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for this review.

  2. First of all - CONGRATULATIONS on losing 85 pounds AND keeping it off for a year! You should be quite proud of that amazing accomplishment.

    Secondly, I just received my first Elizabeth Berg novel, The Year of Pleasures, which I have not yet had a chance to read. This collection sounds just wonderful, however, and I may just try to obtain the audio version and listen to the author's narration.

  3. NotNessie - It really did make for an interesting read (or actually an intereesting listen).

    Thank you, Molly :)

    I've never read Elizabeth Berg's books, but I've heard they are good and have a couple of print books in my TBR. Eventually I will get to them.

  4. Two of my favorite things: short stories and fiction with a food theme. I'm adding this one to my wish list.

    Also, congrats on losing and maintaining the weight. That's a wonderful accomplishment!

  5. 85lbs - wow. There was me thinking I was doing well at reaching 19lbs this week. I am very impressed. I am pretty sure this is a book I would like to read too as my Weight Watchers membership is likely to be permanent.

  6. Thanks, Janel!

    Scrap girl - 19 lbs is excellent! Congrats! It took me a year and a half to lose my weight and I'm a permanent member and attendee at Weight Watchers meetings.


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