Title: Good Enough to Eat
Author: Stacey Ballis
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Melanie Hoffman has accomplished three things in life she is truly proud of: first, she found Andrew, a man who loved her despite her size. Second, she left her cushy job as a lawyer to open a cafe specializing in delicious food that is also healthy. And finally, Mel lost half her body weight through dieting and exercise. She’s finally happy, healthy, and becoming content with life.
It’s an under-the-belt blow, then, when Andrew announces he’s leaving Melanie – for a woman twice her size. She’s also struggling financially while she’s trying to make the cafe a success. Trying to rebuild, Mel turns to her fellow employees and they help her realize who she really is and what family means.
I’ll admit it, I had pretty high expectations for Stacey Ballis’ Good Enough To Eat going in. After all, I’ve been hearing about it for months through Jen Lancaster’s blog. Jen and Stacey are close friends, and Jen’s really been doing her part to spread the world about this book release. Therefore, when I received it, I couldn’t wait to get to it. I love reading books about food and it sounded like a great story.
I was thrilled that Good Enough to Eat surpassed my expectations. First of all, the story was wonderful. I absolutely love that it wasn’t your typical girl-loses-weight story. Mel worked incredibly hard to lose weight, and it wasn’t about how she looked. It was about how she felt about herself, plus her health problems. Once Mel lost that weight, she had a love-hate relationship with food. I loved reading about her learning to appreciate each mouthful of food, rather than eating so fast she couldn’t taste each bite. She was also very strong, constantly resisting the temptation to binge when things weren’t going her way.
I also appreciated that this wasn’t a magic story – Mel struggled with food on a daily basis. At one point Ballis compares food addiction to a drug habit or alcoholism, and makes the very good point that if alcoholics or drug users were required to take their drug of choice, but only in moderation, exercising self-control three times a day, it would be incredibly difficult. It makes it even harder for Mel that she works around food, albeit very healthy food that helped her to lose weight.
The storyline in Good Enough to Eat doesn’t follow your typical women’s fiction pattern either. Around each corner was a surprise, which made this book very fresh. And the food. Oh, the food. I was constantly hungry throughout this book because of Ballis’ delectable, wonderful food descriptions. Including recipes is the new “thing” in novels, but Ballis takes that a step farther – the entire last 40 pages of the book is recipes. And considering how amazing the food was in the book, you can bet I’ll be trying some of them out.
Good Enough to Eat was a wonderfully warm, delicious novel that I really enjoyed. I truly hope that Ballis chooses to revisit these characters in a future novel, as she took such care developing them that I felt like they were real. I highly recommend this book for fans of women’s fiction and foodies alike.