‘A loving mother.
A perfect family.
A shockwave that could shatter everything.’
The Food of Love is more than just a story. It is a frightening look at the effects of an eating disorder on the family unit.
Published by Lake Union Publishing on December 1st 2016, I was delighted to receive an advanced copy for review.
Please read on for my thoughts on this truly wonderful book…
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.
The Braithwaite family appear to have it all. A wonderfully happy household where jokes and love are dispensed in equal measures.
Freya is a freelance writer of journalistic articles, food related. She has always made sure that her family eat in a very healthy manner. For Freya, it’s one of the many ways she can express her love to her family.
‘Freya placed the napkin-lined basket full of delicious-smelling, hot, fresh pitta bread in the centre of the table and put the plates in front of everyone, pre-loaded with a folded omelette, heaps of salad, and salsa’
Lockie, Freya’s husband, is a freelance photographer. It’s obvious from the opening pages that his love for Freya is as strong as it was when they first got married nineteen years previously.
They have two daughters, Charlotte and Lexi, who behave like any siblings do. They annoy each other, they shout at each other but underneath it all they love each other.
Freya and Lockie live life in a very relaxed manner never sure where their next pay-check will come from but yet unencumbered by the fear of the unknown. They live life to the full.
A family to envy…..a family that has it all…..
A phone-call from the school one day changes the lives of the family forever.
Lexi’s weight has come to the attention of a teacher and Freya is called in for a meeting. Freya remains in denial at the beginning, not able to come to terms with the school’s observations that Lexi may have an eating disorder.
Freya is the expert on food. She feeds her family. Lexi eats…..doesn’t she?
Inspired by Amanda’s own extreme struggle with body image and a family history of anorexia, the reader is taken on a journey with the Braithwaites as they struggle to comprehend what is happening.
Lexi’s decline is traumatic. Her feelings of inadequacy and her comprehension of how ‘fat’ she is, is very difficult to read.
What’s excellently achieved in this novel is the portrayal of the effects of Lexi’s condition on the family as a whole.
Charlotte, the eldest is a cellist and is also sitting her A-levels. In the midst of Lexi’s illness, Charlotte is almost sidelined. She is struggling to deal with her own issues as a teenager and her disappointment with her parents is palpable off the pages.
Lockie is a frustrated father, husband, man. His wife is caught up with Lexi’s illness, no longer able to see the wood from the trees. Lockie, while having some level of understanding of Lexi’s illness, is prepared to dispense tough love but Freya’s motherly instinct cannot let her go down this road.
It is fascinating to see how their relationship changes. Their opposing views at times lead to arguments but can their love survive this tragedy in their lives?
The Food of Love is a book that will affect you right to your core. The emotions, the tears, the feeling of complete uselessness will take over your world as you turn the pages in the hope that all will work out for Lexi and her family.
I have previously read and reviewed Another Love by Amanda Prowse where my emotions were put in a complete spin.
In The Food of Love, Amanda Prowse has done it again….
Her writing in this book feels very personal, described as ‘ a compelling and heart-wrenching look at family, food and the challenge of raising teenagers in our self-obsessed, image conscious society.’
Social media features in The Food of Love but not in a positive light. It is the fear of all parents that our children will be affected by the society we live in today and the immediacy of images on Facebook, Snapchat etc The internet is a wide open world to teenagers where all information is at their fingertips and the influence of the celebrity lifestyle can be very dangerous. Our own obsession, as adults, with diets and health, while important to an extent, does affect our children.
If there is any lesson to be learnt from The Food of Love, let it be that of openness in the family dynamic with food. Eat together, observe your kids/friends/family. Be very aware of the dangers that society is constantly putting at the feet of our young people. It is a scary world for many and it is our job to help them navigate through it.
The Food of Love is a must-read for everyone. It is a novel that will grab your heart. It is an emotional and poignant read so hankies at the ready folks….
Purchase Link : The Food of Love
About Amanda Prowse:
Amanda Prowse is a bestselling novelist with an incredible 136K followers on Twitter.
This is her sixteenth novel and her books have been translated into a dozen languages and regularly top bestseller charts all over the world. Amanda has been dubbed ‘The Queen of Domestic Drama’ and writes about ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined.
Through writing The Food of Love, Amanda has come face to face with her own feelings of shame, secrecy and obsession with food.
Overweight as a child and a yo-yo dieter as an adult, Amanda has struggled with body image and overeating all her life.