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FOOD AND LOATHING: A LAMENT

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In a culture in which even Weight Watchers ads proclaim that ”food is life, food is love,” being overweight and being depressed often go hand in hand. In this razor-sharp memoir of her struggle to control compulsive eating and manic depression, Lerner also grapples with Overeaters Anonymous, a sadistic therapist, and a six-month stint in a psychiatric hospital. She succinctly recounts her confidence-crushing agonies — from grade-school weigh-ins to grad-school writing workshops — with warmth, wit, and not a trace of self-pity. Even a thwarted attempt to throw herself off a bridge becomes a self-deprecating joke: Startled (and saved) by a guy masturbating in the bushes nearby, she archly observes that the scene was ”not exactly It’s a Wonderful Life.”