I have a strange relationship with Lionel Shriver books, because they are often pretty dark and cynical in their outlook and world view, and yet I keep coming back to them because they are in many ways such true mirrors to real human experiences.
For me, this book is like two books in one. At first, it took me a while to warm to the character of Pandora, wife and mother whose beloved, handsome, Jazz Musician big brother, who she had always felt somewhat overshadowed by (metaphorically) turned up years since she’s last seen him, down on his luck, and hugely overweight. His prolonged stay at her house put stresses and strains on her marriage and family relationships. The middle part of the book, where Pandora resolves to help her brother lose all the extra weight was my favourite part. They move into an apartment together and their shared journey of extreme dieting and getting fit was fun and relatable.
The end of the book, however, has a bombshell twist which I hated. I don’t want to spoil others experience by saying what it is, but I felt cheated and let down and thought ‘what’s the point in anything then’ when it was revealed.
I guess, like ‘Life of Pi’ the book is what you make of it, and for me, if I chose to ignore the ending and just remember the rest, then I liked it.