All posts filed under: Media

Food & Fat as Metaphor in ‘The Middlesteins’

When NPR included Jami Attenberg’s The Middlesteins as a foodie summer read, I had forgotten that it was on my request list at the library. When it came available with its fast food inspired red and yellow cover, I excitedly carried it home, ready to dig in. Late last year, Hannah Rosefield wrote an incredibly insightful piece on the use of obesity as metaphor in not only The Middlesteins, but also in Michael Kimball’s Big Ray, Heft by Liz Moore, and Erin Lange’s young adult novel Butter. She argues: An obese body is never, any longer, just an obese body, in life or in fiction, but an embodiment of an epidemic, an image of our society…It is true that although 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese, a relatively small number is super obese. But these novels show Ray, Arthur, Butter, and Edie not at one end of a continuum, but as existing in a separate category, divided from their “normal” friends and family. We see the various societal factors that contribute to obesity, but …