You hear it every day – obesity is becoming an epidemic in our country. But what can we do about it? Are we becoming overweight simply because we’re too lazy to exercise and eat right or is something more sinister afoot? Public health nurse Sue Fort is leaning towards the latter.
Jeremy Barton represents a huge portion of our youth these days. He’s the son of a single mother who works two jobs in an effort to keep her head above water. Despite her love for her son, she finds herself feeding him too much fast food and leftovers from the buffet restaurant where she works, just to streamline her life somewhat. Because of this, Jeremy is grossly overweight. As a mother, my heart went out to him in so many ways. I know the struggle to put healthy, tasty meals on the table every night after working a full day. I also know the struggle involved in motivating your children to be active and healthy when you can barely bring yourself to get out of bed in the mornings. It’s a real fight, and the author portrays it in excruciatingly real detail.
The public health nurse that comes to Jeremy’s rescue is Sue Fort. Jeremy describes her as the ‘warrior woman’ from the moment he first sees her in the ER. This is the perfect description for Sue because she essentially goes to war with the food industry over Jeremy and cases like his. At times, Sue was too sunshiney and annoying for my tastes, but she always meant well, even when she temporarily lost sight of her initial goal.
The premise of Eating Bull intrigued me. Having struggled with my weight all my life, I was interested to see how this would all play out. While exciting and suspenseful, this novel was also quite educational as well. I learned a lot of things reading this book, many of which hadn’t ever occurred to me before reading Eating Bull. One of my favorite quotes from the book aptly sums it all up: “Everyone blames the individual. ‘Eat less,’ they say, or ‘take more stairs.’ Yes, those are important things to do, but what these people don’t understand is how hard society makes it.” The thing is, society doesn’t make it tough simply by making fast food and pre-packaged goodies taste so yummy, but they also put this enormous pressure on you to start exercising today and be ten pounds lighter by tomorrow. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. If it did, we’d all be bikini models.
Eating Bull is a medical thriller for the new millennium. Forget that there’s a serial killer targeting overweight people and focus more on the fact that our country in and of itself is trying to kill us all. That alone ought to be enough to keep you awake at night. Well written and engaging, I found myself reluctant to put this book down.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.