The Middlesteins

The Middlesteins

[a Novel]

Book - 2012
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For more than thirty years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago. But now things are splintering apart, for one reason, it seems: Edie's enormous girth. She's obsessed with food--thinking about it, eating it--and if she doesn't stop, she won't have much longer to live.

When Richard abandons his wife, it is up to the next generation to take control. Robin, their schoolteacher daughter, is determined that her father pay for leaving Edie. Benny, an easy-going, pot-smoking family man, just wants to smooth things over. And Rachelle-- a whippet thin perfectionist-- is intent on saving her mother-in-law's life, but this task proves even bigger than planning her twin children's spectacular b'nai mitzvah party. Through it all, they wonder: do Edie's devastating choices rest on her shoulders alone, or are others at fault, too?

With pitch-perfect prose, huge compassion, and sly humor, Jami Attenberg has given us an epic story of marriage, family, and obsession. The Middlesteins explores the hopes and heartbreaks of new and old love, the yearnings of Midwestern America, and our devastating, fascinating preoccupation with food.
Publisher: New York : Grand Central Pub., c2012
ISBN: 9781455507214
Branch Call Number: ATTE
Characteristics: 273 p. ; 22 cm


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Mar 19, 2017

It's kind of like when Jerry's guitar would scream in agony followed by his own eerie moan, "Death don't have no mercy in this land. Come to your house and it don't take long. Wake up one morning and everybody be gone." We all pretend in public that everything is okay, rarely mentioning outside of family circles the trauma, insanity, depravity, and disease. It was refreshing to read a realistic novel about the nuances that make up this life, whatever this may be.

gramercygal Jul 10, 2014

I think you have to be Jewish to really understand this book.

Well written and a fast read.

BCD2013 May 12, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
Two siblings with very different personalities attempt to control their mother's food obsession and massive weight gain after their father walks out.
- Selection Team

madison382 Jul 30, 2013

I really tried with this book, could not get it, had to put it down.

Apr 17, 2013

I liked it - I'm a bit tired of reading about dysfunctional families and the universal battle with salt, sugar and fat...

Apr 12, 2013

The only reason why I am continuing to read this book is to get to the bottom of Edie's compulsive eating. Unfortunately, Robin is not very likable - if that is what Attenberg intended.

debwalker Dec 07, 2012

Jami Attenberg illuminates the complex effects of one woman's obsessive compulsion on everyone in her family

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