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Appetites: Why Women Wantby Caroline Knapp
Synopses & Reviews
Appetites, written just before Knapp's tragically premature death, is both a poignant and fiercely intelligent memoir tracing her battle with anorexia. But more than a memoir, this is a cultural exploration of women's repressed desires and why women hunger. Georgie Lewis, Powells.com
"Where are the lines between satisfaction and excess, between restraint and indulgence, between pleasure and self-destruction? And why are they so difficult to find, particularly for women?" (from Appetites)
What do women want? Did Freud have any idea how difficult that question would become for women to answer? In Appetites, Caroline Knapp confronts that question and boldly reframes it, asking instead: How does a woman know, and then honor, what it is she wants in a culture bent on shaping, defining, and controlling women and their desires? In this, her final book, completed shortly before her death last June, the best-selling author of Drinking: A Love Story and Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs turns her brilliant eye toward how a woman's appetite — for food, for love, for work, and for pleasure — is shaped and constrained by culture. She uses her early battle with anorexia as a powerful exploration of what can happen when we are divorced from our most basic hungers — and offers her own success as testament to the joy of saying "I want."
Provocative, important, and deeply familiar, Appetites beautifully — and urgently — challenges all women to learn what it is to feed both the body and the soul.
"The late Caroline Knapp was not Everywoman, but there were enough women ? and men ? who felt that her writing spoke directly to them to put her first book, the memoir Drinking: A Love Story, on the bestseller list. Her second book, about the relationship between people and dogs, did nearly as well. Her third, Appetites, published now, a year after she died at 42 from complications arising from lung cancer, may seem like the culmination of her writings just because it is the last one we'll have from her. But the scope of the book, its effort to root out all the ways that women's desires get twisted, thwarted, redirected and obliterated, using her own youthful bout with anorexia as a case in point, suggests that Appetites was a keystone work for her. It's also a heart-rending one..." Laura Miller, Salon.com (read the entire Salon review)
"Riveting...a tribute to her strength." O, The Oprah Magazine
"With signature tenacity and grace, Knapp's posthumous offering...tackles at its very root the question — the conundrum — of women's desires." Elle
"[E]loquent...skillful blend of memoir and social commentary." Bookpage
Book News Annotation:
Knapp (1960-2002) investigates how women know and honor what they want in a culture determined to shape, define, and control women and their desires. She looks at how women's appetite for food, love, work, and pleasure is shaped by culture, drawing on her own early experience with anorexia to demonstrate the impact of a woman being cut off from her basic hungers. There is no index. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In this, her final book, completed shortly before her death last June, the bestselling author of "Drinking: A Love Story" and "Pack of Two" turns her brilliant eye toward how a woman's appetite--for food, for love, for work, and for pleasure--is shaped and constrained by culture.
Table of Contents
Add cake, subtract self-esteem — The mother connection — I hate my stomach, I hate my thighs — From bra burning to binge shopping — Body as voice — Swimming toward hope — Epilogue.
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