Jon Reiner’s recently released book about his battles with Crohn’s Disease discusses the impacts of disease on a person as well as society’s relationship with food.
Food is not just sustenance. It is memories, a lobster roll on the beach in Maine; heritage, hot pastrami club with a half-sour pickle; guilty pleasures, a chocolate rum-soaked Bundt cake; identity, vegetarian or carnivore. Food is the sensuality of a ripe strawberry or a pork chop sizzling on the grill. But what if the very thing that keeps you alive, that bonds us together and marks occasions in our lives, became a toxic substance, an inflammatory invader? In this beautifully written memoir, both gut-wrenching and inspiring, award-winning writer Jon Reiner explores our complex and often contradictory relationship with food as he tells the story of his agonizing battle with Crohn’s disease—and the extraordinary places his hunger and obsession with food took him.
I have not personally read this book yet & I am not sure that I will in the immediate future due to the bad memories I have from my stint of serious Gastroparesis back in 2006. From the description, reviews & the first few pages I’ve read it sounds as though his experience was somewhat similar to mine. The concept of food being poisonous or causing harm is such an alien concept to most. Our society literally runs on food. You really do not notice how many food commercials there are or how there are one or more restaurants or food stores practically every block, until you’ve been robbed of the ability to eat. When eating makes you ill, it turns your life into a paradox, you must eat to live but eating almost seems to be killing you. It doesn’t just take a toll on you but on those around you who are unable to change your predicament.
I am not sure I’d recommend the book to those currently suffering through a bad digestive illness, although it might provide an avenue of sympathy, someone who has been there, who understands. To those who are in the good graces of the digestive gods it might do them good to read the book & count their digestive blessings even if the subject matter causes some indigestion.