Today you can read my review of this absorbing and sometimes harrowing look at how a young girls eating disorder shreds a families happiness.
I’m very honoured to be taking part in the blog tour for the release of the very latest title by successful and popular author Amanda Prowse.
Amanda, prolific author of womens fiction which always packs a punch, tackles another very difficult subject in the Food of Love. Teenagers with mental illness and the impact on the whole family.
Amanda specialises in writing wonderful, gritty fiction about ordinary women coping with adversity and struggling with god-awful situations and in The Food of Love she creates Freya, much loved wife of Lockie, successful food writer, blissful suburban goddess and Mother to 2 lovely teenage girls, Charlotte and Lexi.
I have to admit, I found Freya rather difficult to relate to, she is most definitely a step or two above me, up the social demographic ladder, with quite a privileged lifestyle and sometimes annoyed me quite a bit. But I would never, ever, have wished on her, or anyone, the Pandoras box of ills and evils which are about to emerge and blow her beautiful world apart when it is revealed that her younger child Lexi is Anorexic.
One of the things I have most loved about Amanda’s previous books is that most of the women she has written about could have been me, I instantly connected with something about them, and thought yessss I do that, I think that way. In Freya there was nothing I could feel like this about and I am pretty sure if I met her we wouldn’t get on. So to create a character with whom I have so little empathy and make me feel her pain deep inside my heart, is an exquisite skill few authors can carry off so intricately.
From being called in to her daughters school, where her teacher raises concerns about Lexis well-being, to the discovery that Lexi is completely and utterly obsessed with purging her body of food to the point where she is hiding something very unpleasant beneath her bed, we begin to realize this is no girlish fad, not the blip that Freya continually insists it is, she is in denial but can she accept that she alone cannot solve this medical problem before it’s much too late?
With absolutely no experience of, and very little knowledge of eating disorders, I found Lexi’s struggles very, VERY difficult to comprehend but Freyas anguish, denial and inability to accept that she cannot single-handedly solve this problem alone is well portrayed and utterly distressing to witness.
Her job involves promoting food, making it sound and look tempting and desirable yet her daughter views it as poison and the lengths to which she goes to not eat are way beyond anything I can even comprehend.
The whole book is heart breaking, unsettling and often very upsetting, it’s not an easy read on any level.
We watch Freya determinedly struggling to help Lexi but frequently getting it wrong, she needs to practise tough love instead in her desire to hang on to her daughter’s love she unwittingly aids and abets her in her awful battle to starve. Putting her mentally ill daughter first inevitably takes its toll on her slightly older sibling Charlotte, tackling exams and trying to be supportive to her little sister. A lot of my sympathies lay with Charlotte the one pushed aside by her sisters obsession with food, I worried what effect her constantly being put second would play on her, if either girl had cause to feel neglected, it seems to me it would be the strong supportive and sensible Charlotte. Freyas perfect marriage begins to come apart at the seams like a frayed dishcloth wrung until it disintegrates.
This book is part of the “No Greater Courage” series, of which I have already read and loved a couple of previous titles, they display women pushed to the limits of endurance by everyday events.
I can’t help but be filled with admiration for the authors willingness to tackle disturbing subject matter and her research can’t be faulted, she writes so knowledgeably you’d think she’d gone through this at first hand. Not only would I not know where to start I wouldn’t be able to face the trauma of living this vicariously through a character of my own creation.
If you, like me, know nothing about eating disorders, don’t let this put you off reading this, the detailed research which must have gone into this pays off and by the time you’ve been through the wringer with this family you’ll know more than you ever wanted to about this distasteful and tragic illness.
If you have a teenage daughter and have ever, for one minute, wondered why she never seems to eat much, why she has grown difficult and withdrawn, has taken up exercising all hours of day and night – for goodness sake read this book and while you’re reading it, don’t turn a deaf ear to the possible cry for help which once ignored may be too late to hear!
If you'd like to follow the blog tour its in 2 parts and the participants for part 2 are here
A loving mother. A perfect family. A shock wave that could shatter everything.
Freya Braithwaite knows she is lucky. Nineteen years of marriage to a man who still warms her soul and two beautiful teenage daughters to show for it: confident Charlotte and thoughtful Lexi. Her home is filled with love and laughter.
But when Lexi’s struggles with weight take control of her life, everything Freya once took for granted falls apart, leaving the whole family with a sense of helplessness that can only be confronted with understanding, unity and, above all, love.
In this compelling and heart-wrenching new work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse, one ordinary family tackles unexpected difficulties and discovers that love can find its way through life’s darkest moments.
It's available now in ebook and the paperback is released on December 1st 2016