In FOOD AND LOATHING a bright, chubby girl believes that thinness is next to godliness and so attends one of the first meetings of Overeaters Anonymous in 1975. Her twenties are marked by yo-yo dieting, depressive episodes and a sadistic shrink. Then, just as her dream of being a writer is within reach, entering Columbia's prestigious MFA program, she spirals into a suicidal depression and lands for a six-month stay at New York State Psychiatric Institute. There a young resident helps her take her first steps towards selfhood, unravelling the self-loathing of an eating disorder coupled with a paralysing mood disorder. He also helps her confront a tragic family secret whose silence had enveloped an otherwise average Jewish middle-class family.
FOOD AND LOATHING is a book about how people use food to narcotise, to love and to escape. It's about therapy - the good, the bad, and the down right destructive - and about every woman who spends too much of her life thinking about her weight and how she can forgive herself for living - and even learn to love.
Betsy Lerner holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia University. She is the recipient of the Thomas Wolfe Poetry Prize and an Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize. She is a former editor and is now a literary agent with The Gernert Company. She lives outside New York City.