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Title: Big Brother
Authors: Shriver, Lionel
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 373
Year: 2013
Language: English
Description: Somewhere along the way Pandora has lost sight of her brother Edison. And now here he is - very much her bigger brother weighing in at over 180kgs, a larger than life house guest. At that weight it's not only the seams of his clothing that are stretched to the limit. However, the pressing question is, can Pandora save Edison before it's too late?

The combination of intelligent and thoughtful characters with an exploration of the West's complex relationship with food produces both challenging and satisfying fare.

Comments from Groups:

A very lively discussion - most enjoyed the book. An interesting topic and great writing. Many would like to read more of Lionel Shriver. Gisborne 005

Most of our group felt that it was a rather intense book to read. However, they found the subject interesting and the final pages shocking - but on reflection, predictable. A good discussion. Palmerston North 004

We all found this book difficult to engage with at first, too wordy. It dealt with some interesting concepts and led to a long discussion on food, the diet industry, obesity, family, culture, and a lot of memories! We all felt cheated and let down by the ending, although some felt it may have been the author's way of dealing with her own brother's weight problem - exploring different things she could have done to help him. Nelson 015

Very divergent responses from different members of the group. Some liked the ending, others not. It prompted a good discussion re management of obesity - from the public health to individual management options. Auckland 076

Some of the group really liked this book, others found it a bit long. The topic of obesity stimulated a lot of discussion. The twist at the end was seen as a bit of a let-down. On the whole, not a book that grabbed everyone but it had some positive literary merit, and was well written... Auckland 037

We had mixed views about how much we found the story readable. Most thought it was long-winded and repetitive in places. We did find some of the themes interesting eg. relationships with food; the psychology of food and eating, and different family relationships...Lower Hutt 008

We enjoyed the book - had a thought- provoking discussion on obesity. Auckland 223

Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Food, Humour, Medical/Health, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, America, Blind Foundation book

Reviews

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By: HIKUR 001 2020-05-06 11:05:50
3.5 
The group had mixed opinions on this book. Some members could relate to the dieting/family conflicts. Some found the author too self absorbed in 'American problems'. An easy read but we felt that the dieting methods described were unrealistically portrayed, and the ending was a forgone conclusion.

By: MAST 003 2020-05-06 11:02:08
3 
Mixed feelings, some people liked it and others not!

By: AUCK 016 2020-05-06 11:00:42
3.5 
Lots of discussion about the book and many different opinions. Most thought the writing style was great, but did not enjoy the content. Many wondered about the ending - why did the author have two endings?

By: CHCH 064 2020-05-06 10:58:17
3 
Great discussion. A book of excess - language wise and life wise. Mixed likes and dislikes of Shriver's writing. "Purple prose" was one description of her writing.

By: DUNED 039 2020-05-06 10:55:49
3 
On the whole, our group was not enthusiastic about this book. It was too wordy - could have been much more concise. We felt that few characters appealed to any of us. Names were difficult - it would have been nice to have had a few more familiar names like John, Peter, etc. We had considerable discussion however re the problems of obesity and over-eating.

By: HAMIL 034 2020-05-06 10:52:14
3 
None of us really enjoyed this book. We felt it was implausible, and none of us liked any of the adult characters. It did tackle the really important matter of obesity, however.

By: AUCK 184 2020-05-06 10:48:54
4.5 
All loved it - lots of discussion.

By: TAUR 016 2020-05-06 10:48:27
5 
Great discussion - all members admire Lionel Shriver's style, especially the way she creates tremendously credible, interesting, three-dimensional characters. We like the way she takes profound social issues and builds her narrative around them. She is a great observer of human behaviour, good and not-so-good, and this book is laced with thoughtful commentary on why people do what they do. That she gave us an alternative ending added another dimension to an already compelling read. Very clever.

By: DUNED 072 2020-05-06 10:38:33
4 
The book raised lots of discussion around family relationships, and power and control.

 
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