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“Born Round”

Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time EaterIf you live in New York, you’ve probably heard of Frank Bruni or read some of his work. The food-obsessed writer just so happens to have been the restaurant critic for the New York Times. Now, in “Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater,” instead of analyzing menus and service, Bruni is turning a critical eye on himself, detailing a volatile love for food that began as early as infancy, when he would vomit in response to being denied the food he wanted. As the Washington Post writes, it just got worse from there:

“When he writes about how his Italian family treats cooking and even eating as competitive sports, and about his compulsion as a little kid to join his mother on the Atkins diet (nearly breaking his pasta-making grandmother’s heart), it’s easy to spot the glimmers of future eating disorders. And sure enough, by college he’s learned the not-so-delicate art of bulimia, and also abuses laxatives and Mexican diet pills. Throughout most of the book, his weight is up and down (reaching 268 pounds at its peak), and his attempts at dating are complicated by his irrational body image, binges and even “sleep-eating.”

It doesn’t sound so out of the norm, though, when you consider that plenty of other people have faced (and written about) similar issues; The Times writes, “If ‘Born Round’… just detailed his obsessive eating, his serial bouts of bulimia, the barometric rise and fall of his pants size, his frequent episodes of self-loathing punctuated by midnight snacks of enough roast chicken to feed a family, it would be an unexceptional book.” But Bruni makes his story worth reading because he narrates it around the framework of his food-centric career. The result, according to the Baltimore Sun, is a “rollicking and sobering memoir. A book of comic excesses and culinary appreciation, it ends on a cautiously optimistic note: Bruni mostly has his eating under control but doesn’t take it for granted.”

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