APPETITES: On the Search for True Nourishment by Geneen Roth

APPETITES: On the Search for True Nourishment

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A dubious exploration of appetite as a metaphor in women's lives, from the author of When Food Is Love (1991), who conducts workshops on women, food, and self-esteem. According to Roth, women desire obsessively--a perfect body, success, love--instead of embracing themselves as they are and appreciating what they already have. A woman who overeats, for example, may be trying to fill a void within herself, not realizing that she already has what she needs. Roth gives examples from her own life: Having obtained what she thought she wanted--fame, a good man, a thin body, a life in scenic northern California--she still wasn't happy. Then she developed chronic fatigue syndrome and a vitamin deficiency that caused her hair to fall out, all of which made her realize that she should have appreciated her health while she had it. A series of chance disasters--an earthquake, a fire that nearly burned her house down--led her to understand that everything she has could easily be taken away, that her deepest satisfaction must come from herself. Though witty and lucid about her personal experience, Roth does, unfortunately, lapse into the occasional New Age, pseudo-Buddhist truism. Nor is it always obvious how particular parts of the narrative fit into her overall argument. Worse, the author can be downright maudlin: Anthropomorphic paeans to her cat's capacity for enlightened contentment, though mitigated by moments of self-mockery, get embarrassing after awhile. Roth's lack of self-consciousness about her own privilege is an even larger problem. It is easy enough to preach about finding happiness within yourself when you have what you always wanted from the world. But those who haven't found love, fame, rewarding work, or money may be less than sympathetic to the spiritual struggles of the ""woman who has everything"" and still isn't satisfied.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0525940766
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Dutton