Panic and hysteria

Lionel Shriver, author of a new book Big Brother, says that most of us are neurotic about food.

I will confess. I am neurotic about food even though I lost a lot of weight following the Weight Watchers plan and I have kept it off.

And, I think that Shriver might be neurotic about food, too. Although her book is a fictional account of a woman who helps her obese brother lose weight, she had a real brother who died from health issues caused by obesity. Andrew Goldman, in a June 14, 2013, online story in The New York Times, reports that Shriver’s regimen “involves running 10 miles every other day, a ton of push-ups and a strict one-meal-a-day policy.”

In Big Brother, Pandora, the sister, goes on a liquid diet with her brother and stays on the diet even after she has lost more weight than she needs to lose.

“My first reaction to sitting down to a meal was panic,” Pandora says in the book. “I wasn’t alone in this hysteria….You could see it in popular websites like, but you could also see it in the prestige designation of size-zero jeans….You couldn’t help but wonder what earthly good was a microprocessor, a space telescope or a particle accelerator when we had mislaid the most animal of masteries. Why bother to discover the Higgs boson or solve the economics of hydrogen-powered cars? We no longer knew how to eat.”

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