Food of Love by Amanda Prowse was my Kindle ebook- that I got to read free with my Prime Membership.
Powerful, poignant, heart-wrenching; it was a grippingly realistic read: so much that plenty of times I simply wanted to fling the book away in frustration at the characters. Thankfully, the knowledge that I am reading on a Kindle device and that fact that it is a gift from Hubs helped me rein in my violent thoughts. As ever, being a mom helped too! I have plenty of practice in wishing away my slowly mounting frustration! 🙂
Do I agree or approve of everything that the characters did? Nope.
Did they all seem plausible? Not always.
But did it ring true? YES!! Too close for comfort!
I am no expert on anorexia or emotional health and have never dealt with issues like this, but I have had a small child in hospital. While the pain and frustration were of a much greater level than we ever faced (Thank God! and Touch Wood!)- the helplessness portrayed rang too true! It is not easy leaving your beloved in the hands of medical staff- no matter how well trained and certified. Those parts were too realistically described, is my personal opinion.
I am also unhappily, one of those moms whose kid refuses to eat anything in certain situations. Specifically, T refuses all but milk on foreign soil (even if it is her native home full of loving relations). The food battles between mother and child- where Freya is fine with employing just about any ploy, and then being content with Lexi eating even a few bites- those parts of the book evoked my own struggles with T when she was two and in India. It was horrid, bitter and heart wrenching. Every meal was a battle- cajoling, bribing, threatening, it was like she and I were locking horns every few hours. Come meal times, and I felt, even the atmosphere would suddenly change. Yup, like in movies or books. Only, real life does not come equipped with pause or fast forward buttons. Just writing about those episodes makes me cringe at those days and grateful for now! as an aside, T did reject all foods on this year’s trip as well. But seeing as how she can now speak with great logic, clarity of thought and sans ambiguity (and a heavy dose of strong opinions courtesy her mommy’s genes)- we got along just fine. Since, she was able to state exactly what she wanted (milk! or Not hungry Mummy!) and was active, happy and not sneaking snacks (Trust me when I say I tried all sorts of snacks) at all ; the trip passed relatively stress free. Besides, our pediatrician certified her diet preference as her young way adjusting to the cultural, time and continental differences! She gained two pounds and an inch, so, I was a relieved Mommy! (and yes, I still did fret- it’s what Moms do!)
After that major digression, I’d like to come back to my review. The whole point of stating the above rigmarole is that all parental decisions – big and small are laced with fear of erring, too much love and the impossible and unrealistic goal of always doing the best we can even if it is beyond our capacities. This book conveyed that dilemma and struggle very well. Who cares about the technical details or choices ultimately made- the book showed how fragile and overprotective and irrational all parents become when it comes to our precious bundle of joy- all at the same time! In tat aspect, the book was excellent!
In fact, I left this review in my drafts for almost a month, not daring to hit publish, because it reveals my own parenting beliefs, struggle and pain! It feels I am exposing my vulnerabilities to the world and unsure if I am unto it! But then I think of how I want my child to be strong, to be brave and courageous. I take inspiration from the character Freya who shares her story and the author Amanda who bravely delves into the topic of anorexia and how we seldom equate body shaming with our thoughtless remarks on people who are thin and even those who are not. And now, I publish.
Hoping all reading this review do go and read the book- there are some really wonderful and necessary messages in the book. Have a great weekend! Be happy and spread some cheer- the world needs it!