Thursday, October 1, 2009

Book Review

Food Makes Me Happy (and that's my problem!) is a book written by Michael Sortino and I'm sure you can guess what it's about. Well, I ordered a copy and sat down to read during the girls' piano lessons which probably wasn't the best idea because at times poor Miss Polly thought I was choking. Nope, just choking back tears of laughter! Michael Sortino has fun writing and if he had half this much fun writing for kids, I can't wait to read Teddy Gyros.

This book made me laugh out loud. It might not be for everyone, but if you have ever done battle with emotional eating, you will enjoy it. I highly recommend this commonsensical (is that a word?) approach to battling this addiction to food that so many of us struggle with. Whether you eat for reasons of stress or rebellion or if it was just a bad habit that started for one reason but continues for another, you will appreciate Sortino's honest, straightforward discussion. He shares his story in such a delightfully humorous and vivid way that you will be able to hear the stampeding feet rush to the table as his father cries "A tavola!" and smell the garlic sauce simmering and bubbling on the stove which sounds like a bad thing in a book about emotional eating, but trust isn't!

Sortino traces his relationship with food back to his cultural heritage and shows how it changed and morphed as he grew older and experienced that crusher of all our best intentions... stress! Now, most of you know, I am not Italian. As far as I know, there isn't a drop of Italian blood in my body. Mostly Czech and Scotch Irish not to mention a little bit of Cherokee Indian if you ask my Granny. (She also claims we're related to Sam Houston, but so do most grannies in Texas.) While the foods cooking in the kitchen might have been different, I can relate to his very well balanced account of life with food as a child growing up in a family with strong cultural tendencies. My mom's family, the Czech ones, who were fresh from the "old country", made a much stronger connection between food and culture than my Dad's family who couldn't even remember if they were Scottish or Irish. An interesting thought to ponder another day. Back to the book...

Before you start to think that Sortino is pointing the finger at his Italian upbringing, let me put your mind at ease. He squarely lays the blame at the feet of our secular society; the lie that we have all been sold, from the earliest we can remember, that personal happiness = consumption (not the kind that kills fragile women in gothic novels). CONSUMERISM! Sortino's primary premise is that...well, I won't give it away.

In a podcast I listened to, Sortino admits to being an ex-Drama major and his flair for the dramatic shows in an engaging and entertaining way. This book was a fun and easy read while dealing deftly with the weighty matter at hand!

P.S. I was not compensated for this review in any way. I purchased the book on my own after watching the videos on Sortino's website and reviewed it here just for the sheer pleasure of sharing a good book with friends!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. (sorry, that was me... signed in under DH's account! oops)

    Personal consumption = happiness.

    Amen! Society has it all wrong!

    I'm slowly realizing how all encompassing this lie is.

    Sounds like a great book!

  3. I knew it was you! I think you would love Sortino's descriptions of life in a big Italian family!

  4. You are a gifted book reviewer - so fun to read your thoughts.

    Ooooh! I got a real word in your word verification box: "quest."

    As, in "Good luck on your quest!"

  5. The second I read "cultural heritage" I thought, "He must be Italian." To this day it boggles my mind how my paternal grandmother would prepare meals. I've never seen anything like it.

  6. Sounds like a fun book to read maybe while stirring something yummy at the stove (do you read and cook at the same time? I do!).

  7. Mmm....... I'm an emotional eater...


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!