Book review: Born Round by Frank Bruni

Anyone who has spent significant time struggling with weight will tell you how pervasive and frustrating that internal voice can be. The voice that tells you you’re ugly. The voice that chastises you for enjoying food. The voice that congratulates you for abstaining, that picks apart every culinary decision, that fixates on clothing sizes, that wears you down until you hate yourself for being so predictably sado-masochistic.

It’s this voice we become privy to in Frank Bruni’s new memoir, Born Round: The Secret History of a Full Time Eater. Bruni, who has spent the last four years as restaurant critic for the New York Times, has written a book that chronicles in detail his lifelong tussle with his weight. Bruni recounts every self-doubting thought, every fluctuation in pants size, and the tortured conflict of emotions surrounding every mouthful of food.

In many ways, it’s a powerful story, highly relatable and familiar to many of us. But the book belabors in 368 pages what we know in the first few chapters – this man has a fraught relationship with food and self-image. The meticulous detailing of that relationship seems self-indulgent at best, at worst an unhealthy excuse to feed his neuroses.

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