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Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater

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Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater Cover

ISBN13: 9781594202315
ISBN10: 1594202311
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

A funny, brutally honest memoir from New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni about his complicated relationship with food. Truly original and compulsively readable.
Recommended by Martha, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The New York Times restaurant critic's heartbreaking and hilarious account of how he learned to love food just enough after decades of struggling with his outsize appetite.

Frank Bruni was born round. Round as in stout, chubby, and hungry, always and endlessly hungry. He grew up in a big, loud Italian family in White Plains, New York, where meals were epic, outsize affairs. At those meals, he demonstrated one of his foremost qualifications for his future career: an epic, outsize love of food. But Bruni's relationship with eating was tricky, and his difficulties with managing it began early. When Bruni was named the restaurant critic for The New York Times in 2004, he knew enough to be nervous. The restaurant critic at the Times performs one of the most closely watched tasks in the epicurean universe; a bumpy ride was certain, especially for someone who had never written about food, someone who for years had been busy writing about politics, presidential campaigns, and the pope. What qualified him to be one of the most loved and hated tastemakers in the New York food world? Did his decades-long obsession with food suffice?

Food was his friend and enemy both, something he craved but feared, and his new-job jitters focused primarily on whether he'd finally made some sense of that relationship. In this coveted job, he'd face down his enemy at meal after indulgent meal. As his grandmother often put it, "Born round, you don't die square." Would he fall back into his old habits or could he establish a truce with the food on his plate?

Born Round traces the highly unusual path Bruni traveled to become a restaurant critic; it is the captivating account of an unpredictable journalistic ride from an intern's desk at Newsweek to a dream job at The New York Times, as well as the brutally honest story of Bruni's lifelong, often painful, struggle with food. Born Round will speak to any hungry hedonist who has ever had to rein in an appetite to avoid letting out a waistband and will delight anyone interested in matters of family, matters of the heart, and the big role food plays in them.

Review:

"Outgoing New York Times restaurant critic Bruni admits he was even a baby bulimic in his extraordinary memoir about a lifelong battle with weight problems. To his Southern Italian paternal grandmother, food equaled love. Cooking and parenting from Old World traditions, she passed these maternal and culinary principles on to her WASP daughter-in-law, whose own weight struggles her son eventually inherited. Through adolescence, puberty and into college, Bruni oscillated from gluttonous binges to adult bulimia, including laxative abuse. Vocationally, journalism called, first through the college paper, then a progression of internships and staff positions in Detroit and New York, including his stints as a Bush campaign reporter in 2000 and as the Times Rome correspondent. In tandem, Bruni's powerlessness over his appetite developed from cafeteria meals to Chinese delivery binges to sleep eating. While Bruni includes such entertaining bits as the campaign trail seen through Weight Watcher lens and ample meals from his years as the Times restaurant critic, in the end, his is a powerful, honest book about desire, shame, identity and self-image. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Among all the 'foodie' books that have been published lately — praising food, relishing food, exploring food, celebrating food — Frank Bruni's memoir stands utterly alone. This book is an intricate, honest, and sometimes painful examination of one man's extremely complex lifelong relationship with eating, and with overeating. What happens when a professional dieter—one who has struggled since childhood with binging, fasting, shame, and other extreme forms of caloric anxiety — is invited, ironically enough, to become a professional food critic? There is much pathos in this story, and humor, and ultimately wisdom. I have always admired Frank Bruni in the past; I admire him more now, for this brave piece of culinary truth telling." Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Review:

"Frits, false mustaches, and sleep broiling? In warmth, breadth, and beautiful writing, Born Round is — to borrow a phrase— Flintstonian." David Sedaris

Review:

"Frank Bruni has written a food memoir for our time, plumbing the depths of our personal and collective eating disorders. By turns shocking and hilarious, Born Round is as addictive as Chinese sesame noodles and as satisfying as Grandma Bruni’s lasagne." Michael Pollan

Review:

"A book about rambunctious hunger and appetite — for life as much as food — that is underscored with a profound yearning. Born Round is, quite simply, beautifully written and makes for greedy reading. It sounds like the most terrible cliché to say 'I devoured it,' but I did!" Nigella Lawson

Review:

"Born Round is a lovely and very funny memoir of one man's lifelong struggles with food and weight. I laughed out loud a number of times, and groaned with recognition of both my own madness and healing. I love Mr. Bruni's stories about his family, his secret life, his friends, his path through the swamps and morass of overeating, and most of all, his quietly brilliant writing." Anne Lamott

Synopsis:

The New York Times restaurant critic's heartbreaking and hilarious account of how he learned to love food just enough

Frank Bruni was born round. Round as in stout, chubby, and always hungry. His relationship with eating was difficult and his struggle with it began early. When named the restaurant critic for The New York Times in 2004, he knew he would be performing one of the most watched tasks in the epicurean universe. And with food his friend and enemy both, his jitters focused primarily on whether he'd finally made some sense of that relationship. A captivating story of his unpredictable journalistic odyssey as well as his lifelong love-hate affair with food, Born Round will speak to everyone who's ever had to rein in an appetite to avoid letting out a waistband.

About the Author

Frank Bruni was named restaurant critic for The New York Times in April 2004. Before that, he was the newspaper's Rome bureau chief, a White House reporter, the lead correspondent covering George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller Ambling into History, about George W. Bush, and his restaurant-related articles for the Times have appeared in each of the last three editions of Best Food Writing in America. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for his work before the Times at the Detroit Free Press.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Catholic Taste, April 6, 2010 (view all comments by Catholic Taste)
I picked this up because I'm interested in journalists, including reviewers. However, I found much more - a big Italian family, a lifelong stuggle with eating, and some hilarious accounts of how Bruni tried to disguise himself while reviewing restaurants for the New York Times.

Anyone who has faced his or her own struggle with eating and weight may find a part of his or her story in that of Frank Bruni. His may be more extreme, yet the similarities remain. I appreciated that in the last chapter he didn't leave the reader with any easy answers, with the impression that he had solved all of his problems. He struggled and would keep struggling, and there is an honor in that as well.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Vi Blanchard, August 20, 2009 (view all comments by Vi Blanchard)
Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater is to the disease of compulsive eating what The Lost Weekend was to alcoholism.

Frank Bruni serves up a surprisingly digestible bouillabaisse of eclectic ingredients that include autobiography, celebrity, fad dieting, haute cuisine and addiction. This sometimes rollicking, sometimes sobering, always engaging tale of a food fiend turned restaurant critic is a textbook case history of a compulsive eater that manages to illuminate this epidemic American addiction in a palatable serving of anecdotes, recipes and family history.

Born into an Italian family with big big appetites, Bruni knows from childhood that when it comes to food, he is different. Bruni describes a ferocious infant appetite and suggests that he was a bulimic, even in the high chair. As his eating takes him on an odyssey of grotesque binges, fad diets, compulsive exercise, Mexican diet pills, fasting, laxatives, denial, and obesity, he finds his true calling as the restaurant reviewer for The New York Times.

Like an alcoholic wine critic, he embarks on a career binge wherein he is given the green light to lovingly indulge in and describe his addictive excesses. Somehow, he makes a deal with his addiction, trading discipline for recovery, managing to manage his weight for a time, but still wondering if he will ever be relieved of his compulsion to eat. Discipline is fine for awhile, but then an epic binge teaches him that he cannot stop. He throws in the towel and leaves the restaurant reviewing to someone else with leaner appetites.

This story is wildly insightful about the disease of compulsive eating without being a self-indulgent addiction memoir. Instead, it lays bare the heartbreaking reality that is the life of a food addict, and helps to educate us all about a disease that is killing more of us than we know. Somehow, this is a really entertaining read, and that's a good thing, because this is tough stuff to digest. Tough, but well worth the effort.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594202315
Subtitle:
The Secret History of a Full-time Eater
Author:
Bruni, Frank
Publisher:
Penguin Press HC, The
Subject:
Italian americans
Subject:
Food writers - United States
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20090820
Binding:
CD-audio
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w photos throughout
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.40x6.46x1.22 in. 1.37 lbs.
Age Level:
17-17

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Related Subjects

» Biography » General
» Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
» Cooking and Food » Food Writing » General
» Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Biographies

Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Penguin Press - English 9781594202315 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

A funny, brutally honest memoir from New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni about his complicated relationship with food. Truly original and compulsively readable.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Outgoing New York Times restaurant critic Bruni admits he was even a baby bulimic in his extraordinary memoir about a lifelong battle with weight problems. To his Southern Italian paternal grandmother, food equaled love. Cooking and parenting from Old World traditions, she passed these maternal and culinary principles on to her WASP daughter-in-law, whose own weight struggles her son eventually inherited. Through adolescence, puberty and into college, Bruni oscillated from gluttonous binges to adult bulimia, including laxative abuse. Vocationally, journalism called, first through the college paper, then a progression of internships and staff positions in Detroit and New York, including his stints as a Bush campaign reporter in 2000 and as the Times Rome correspondent. In tandem, Bruni's powerlessness over his appetite developed from cafeteria meals to Chinese delivery binges to sleep eating. While Bruni includes such entertaining bits as the campaign trail seen through Weight Watcher lens and ample meals from his years as the Times restaurant critic, in the end, his is a powerful, honest book about desire, shame, identity and self-image. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Among all the 'foodie' books that have been published lately — praising food, relishing food, exploring food, celebrating food — Frank Bruni's memoir stands utterly alone. This book is an intricate, honest, and sometimes painful examination of one man's extremely complex lifelong relationship with eating, and with overeating. What happens when a professional dieter—one who has struggled since childhood with binging, fasting, shame, and other extreme forms of caloric anxiety — is invited, ironically enough, to become a professional food critic? There is much pathos in this story, and humor, and ultimately wisdom. I have always admired Frank Bruni in the past; I admire him more now, for this brave piece of culinary truth telling."
"Review" by , "Frits, false mustaches, and sleep broiling? In warmth, breadth, and beautiful writing, Born Round is — to borrow a phrase— Flintstonian."
"Review" by , "Frank Bruni has written a food memoir for our time, plumbing the depths of our personal and collective eating disorders. By turns shocking and hilarious, Born Round is as addictive as Chinese sesame noodles and as satisfying as Grandma Bruni’s lasagne."
"Review" by , "A book about rambunctious hunger and appetite — for life as much as food — that is underscored with a profound yearning. Born Round is, quite simply, beautifully written and makes for greedy reading. It sounds like the most terrible cliché to say 'I devoured it,' but I did!"
"Review" by , "Born Round is a lovely and very funny memoir of one man's lifelong struggles with food and weight. I laughed out loud a number of times, and groaned with recognition of both my own madness and healing. I love Mr. Bruni's stories about his family, his secret life, his friends, his path through the swamps and morass of overeating, and most of all, his quietly brilliant writing."
"Synopsis" by ,
The New York Times restaurant critic's heartbreaking and hilarious account of how he learned to love food just enough

Frank Bruni was born round. Round as in stout, chubby, and always hungry. His relationship with eating was difficult and his struggle with it began early. When named the restaurant critic for The New York Times in 2004, he knew he would be performing one of the most watched tasks in the epicurean universe. And with food his friend and enemy both, his jitters focused primarily on whether he'd finally made some sense of that relationship. A captivating story of his unpredictable journalistic odyssey as well as his lifelong love-hate affair with food, Born Round will speak to everyone who's ever had to rein in an appetite to avoid letting out a waistband.

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