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The Middlesteins

By Jami Attenberg

The Middlesteins
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2012,
    288 pages.

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Dorothy L (03/03/13)

A Good Read
I liked this book. I didn't love it. Most of the characters were very quirky. They weren't stereotypes but they weren't like people in my family so I couldn't always relate to them. The preoccupation with food may have been a bit too much. The voices are clear except near the very end of the book (which I won't spoil) the voice suddenly changes at an event to one we haven't heard throughout the book before. This annoyed me. We should have heard it before or afterwards or not at all. When you want a break from heavier books this suits the purpose and it does keep your interest once you get into it. The ending, for me, was predictable.
Diane S. (11/14/12)

The Middlesteins
Food, everything it can and does mean to a person, from comfort, love, relaxation, well being, to in the case of this novel, a cause of death. The family in this novel is so very real and for all appearance not very likable. Yet beneath the core they are all so wanting, insecure and so very real, actually like most of us and probably our families. Narrated bu different characters, sometimes the reader learns back stories, oftentimes the future, but will it be real and the parts about Edie always have the subtitle of her weight. You see, Edie cannot stop, or maybe does not want to stop eating. Different family members react in different ways, her husband of forty years leaves her at last, but even that does not stop her quest for more and more food. The husbands struggle to reenter the dating scene, her twin grandchildren and their quest to learn a dance to perform for their important Jewish coming of age ceremony, her daughter in aw and daughter who feel that maybe it might be part of their responsibility to stop her eating. Well told, in a genuine voice, yet it takes looking beyond the top layers to get the true impact of this novel.
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