This story and the family it centers on is unlike anything I’ve run across before. I really liked the narrative voice and how the story jumped around in time, telling the reader not only the past and present but also the future. Attenberg has a great understanding of these characters, not just as they live on the page, but the whole courses of their lives.
Edie’s binge eating and fixation on food were tough to read at times. I would definitely recommend not reading this book if you’ve struggled with an eating disorder at any point as I think this could be really triggering. However, the level of disturbing this reaches also attests to the power of Attenberg’s writing.
I struggled to connect with any of these characters and I never felt like I really loved any of them. They were characters that I tolerated, but never really cheered on. Likewise, I didn’t have any emotional reactions to anything outside of Edie’s eating. And I wasn’t really sure what to make of the ending or how I really felt.
The story is interesting to read but I wasn’t sure what the takeaway was or how this reading experience should affect me. Ultimately, while it was an intriguing premise, I was just too baffled to really love the story as much as I hoped to.
Title(s): The Middlesteins
Author(s): Jami Attenberg
Overall Rating: 3/5
Format Accessed: Paperback
Imprint: Grand Central Publishing
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders