Synopses & Reviews
Christine O'Brien remebers growing up in NYC's famous Dakota apartment with her powerful father, her beautiful mother, and a food obsessesion that consumed her.
Hunger comes in many forms. A person can crave a steak in the same way that she can crave a perfect family life. In her memoir, Crave: A Memoir of Food and Longing, Christine O'Brien tells the story of her own cravings. It's a story of growing up in a family with a successful, but explosive father, a beautiful, but damaged, mother and three brothers in New York City's famed Dakota apartment building. Christine's father was Ed Scherick, the ABC television executive and film producer who created ABC's Wide World of Sports as well as classic films like The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and The Heartbreak Kid. Her mother, Carol, was raised on a farm in Missouri.
With chestnut hair and the all-American good looks that won her the title of Miss Missouri and a finalist place in The Miss America Contest she looked to be the perfect wife and mother. But, Carol had a craving that was almost impossible to fill.
Seriously injured in a farming accident when she was a girl, she craved health even though doctors told her that she was perfectly fine. Setting out on a journey through the quacks of the EastCoast, she began seeing a doctor who prescribed "The Program" as a way to health for her and her family. At first she ate nothing but raw liver and drank shakes made with fresh yeast. Then it was blended salads, the forerunner of the smoothie. And that was all she let her family eat.
This well-meant tyranny of the dinner table led Christine to her own cravings for family, for food and for the words to tell the story of her hunger. Crave is that story--the chronicle of a writer's painful and ultimately satisfying awakening.
"Do you mind that I'm going to be writing a book about the fact that I was hungry?" I asked my mother. "Just tell a good story," she replied.
Hunger comes in many forms. In her memoir, Crave, Christine S. O'Brien tells a story of family turmoil and incessant hunger hidden behind the luxury and privilege of New York's famed Dakota apartment building. Her explosively angry father was ABC Executive Ed Scherick, the successful television and film producer who created shows and films like ABC's Wide World of Sports and The Stepford Wives. Raised on farm in the Midwest, her calm, beautiful mother Carol narrowly survived a dramatic accident when she was child. There was no hint of instability in her life until one day she collapsed in the family's apartment and spent the next year in bed. "Your mother's illness is not physical," Christine's father tells her.
Craving a cure for a malady that the doctors said had no physical basis, Carol resorted to increasingly bizarre nutritional diets--from raw liver to fresh yeast--before beginning a rigid dietary regime known as "The Program." It consisted largely of celery juice and blended salads--a forerunner of today's smoothie. Determined to preserve the health of her family, Carol insisted that they follow The Program. Despite their constant hunger, Christine and her three younger brothers loyally followed their mother's eating plan, even as their father's rage grew and grew. The more their father screamed, the more their mother's very survival seemed to depend on their total adherence to The Program.
This well-meant tyranny of the dinner table led Christine to her own cravings for family, for food, and for the words to tell the story of her hunger. Crave is the chronicle of Christine's painful and ultimately satisfying awakening. And, just as her mother asked, it's a good story.