The Appetites of Girls (Pamela Moses)

Article by marycatherine

This debut novel tells stories about four college suitemates--Ruth, Fran, Opal, and Setsu--through the subtle lens of their relationships with food. This is not a light romp about girlhood and finding yourself. Instead, I found myself feeling hurt and bruised alongside these women. I was frustrated by their choices, helpless watching their trauma, and sometimes desperate to give them a much-needed hug. Ruth, the daughter of Jewish immigrants, cannot escape her controlling mother, illustrated most regularly in evening meals. I wanted to slap this mother so many times. Francesca is weighed down by Upper East Side expectations, and finds freedom in binging. Opal--oh, Opal--tries to emulate her resort-hopping mom's glamour and easy charm with men, with disastrous consequences. And then there's Setsu, whose adopted brother manipulates and controls the entire household, including Setsu's food portions. I wanted to slap him a few times, too.


Moses manages to cover a wide breadth of experiences in the lives of these four women--by turns relatable, heartbreaking, confused, and thwarted. A few times while reading, I had to put the book down and focus on something lighter, something easier, but I always felt compelled to return to these women and their stories. Maybe that's the best testament to the power of Moses' insight into some of the truly devastating and often subtle pressures placed on women at all stages of life.

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ISBN: 9780399158421
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Amy Einhorn Books - June 26th, 2014

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