Synopses & Reviews
Combining the revealing cultural commentary of Fast Food Nation with the visceral insights of A Million Little Pieces, this is the story of a journalists struggle with weight, and an unflinching look at our own culture of fat and thin.
I thought: if I can understand the despair, my own and everybodys elses, I could write the storyof why we hate fat, of why we are fat, of why, in some perverse way, we want to be fat. And, most importantly, what we can do to stop being so fat. Obesity is the essential human problem in a nutshellwe try to make life easy by giving ourselves access to resources, and then we make life difficult by overconsuming those resources. We have more of everything than weve ever had, and yet we feel emptier.
While on assignment to interview Dr. Robert Atkins, journalist William Leith realized that he could not report on diet alone; he wanted desperately to develop a deeper understanding of his relationship with food and the pathological cravings that led him (and millions of others) to become dangerously overweight.
His Atkins interview led him to probe not only the link between carbohydrates and addiction, but also how our relationship with food has changed over the last few decades in light of economic, technological, and cultural changes in the world, as well as our cultural obsession with our bodies. Combining the science of food addiction with memoir, humor, and sociological insights, The Hungry Years is a book that will force us to look at our culture of consumption in a new way.
This hilarious, self-lacerating memoir of a compulsive eater is a superb book. I feel about The Hungry Years the way William Leith feels about buttered toast: I couldn't get enough and I panicked when I was reaching the end.
--Jon Ronson, author of Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare At Goats
"Leith is a binger: when he starts eating, he can't stop and he wants to know why. This question, and an interview with Dr. Atkins, leads him to explore fad diets, unhealthy food production and the ubiquitous media depictions of 'perfect' human physiques. While some of British journalist Leith's facts have been reported elsewhere, his humorous anecdotes, compelling interviews and sobering statistics provide convincing arguments against processed foods, government nutritional requirements and other evils of the food chain. In his fast-paced, stream-of-conscious style, Leith molds a journalistic expos, a food journal and a memoir into the personal exploration of a man consumed by a consuming society. Though he hardly exercises, the 236-pound Leith embarks on the Atkins diet to great success, but in the process realizes that denying himself carbohydrates brings up issues that go beyond his diet. Hungry for answers, he starts seeing a therapist, who suggests that he eats compulsively because he has 'been running away from emotions.' Leith's ups and downs will ring true for anyone who has tried to lose a significant amount of weight, and the revelations that come out of Leith's therapy sessions will undoubtedly have readers asking why they really want that doughnut. Agent, Nina Collins. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
An interview with controversial diet guru Dr. Robert Atkins launched the author's intensely personal and illuminating journey into the mysteries of hunger and addiction.
About the Author
William Leith is a leading journalist whose columns often cover diet, sex, and relationships. He writes regularly for the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, and he has worked at many other venerable British newspapers, including The Independent on Sunday, The Mail on Sunday, and the Observer.