Big Brother, Lionel Shriver

A bit heavy-handed with her message about Obesity in Our Times, it's nonetheless worth sticking it out to the end of the book to discover the much-talked-about plot twist that up-ends your sense of the narrative landscape. Big Brother isn't what I would call "easy" reading; I felt nervous paging through it, stress-eating to cope with some of the ugly truths Shriver puts forth. Like this pronouncement, bleak but still resonant:

It wasn't that eating was so greatit wasn'tbut that nothing was great. Eating being merely okay still put it head and shoulders above everything else that was decidedly less than okay. In which case I was surrounded by millions of people incapable of deriving pleasure from anything whatsoever besides a jelly doughnut.