Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This may not be the worst book I ever read, but it is definitely near the top. To be honest, though I tried, I could not get past page 112. I only read it because it was our book club selection for May, and I read enough to feel that I gave it a fair chance and could add to the discussion. When I first heard we were reading it, my thought was 'Not another Eat, Pray, Love!' (Another from my did not finish/worst book ever nomination). I was told it is not, but I'm not so sure. This book is classified as a self-help' book, but I think it could be as easily classified as a memoir. The author talks about her struggles with her weight and her journey to understand and love herself. She tells how she has overcome her battle with compulsive eating. I don't find that interesting but some people will, and that is fine.

My problem with her is that because SHE had these problems, she generalizes that EVERYONE has problems with compulsive eating (though she only addresses the book to women, perhaps assuming men won't be inclined to buy this type book anyway.) She feels she can analyze a person by looking at her plate; that she can tell you why you made the food choices you did. She believes that choosing a food 'because you like the way it tastes' is not ture and you need to figure out what hole you are trying to fill in your life with your food. To me, she comes across as arrogant and judgemental. The only right choices are the choices SHE would make. Much of what she says is just common sense; eat only when you are hungry, think about what you put on your plate, eat without distractions and taste every bite. As far I as I can find, after doing various searches on the internet, her only qualifications are that she has experiences weight changes and compulsive eating. I can't find any reference to a psychology degree, a nutrition or medical degree, or any other education that would qualify her to analyze others. She has however, written many books, and has apparently very good marketing skills. One example is the way she titles her book; 'Women, Food, and God'. Obviously, she is marketing this to women. But she is a bit misleading by including the word 'God' in her title. Most would assume there is some reference to prayer, or that spirituality is a major theme in the book. It is not! She actually states that she does not even believe in God.....or at least not 'God' in the sense that most will assume. I am not criticizing her beliefs. She is free to believe or disbelieve whatever she wishes. But her title is appealing to those who DO believe in 'GOD' in the normal use of the word.

I am not saying that no one will benefit from reading this book. I'm sure there are people who consider themselves compulsive eaters who will relate to, and maybe even learn from, this author's experiences. If this is you, I hope this book helps. But I think for most people, this book will be a waste of some good reading times and there are better books to invest your time and money in.

(By the way, her most recent book is 'Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money' which tells about what she learned from losing her life savings in the Bernie Madoff scandal. Apparently she is now helping people with their finances.)

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