Book Review: Good Enough to Eat – Stacey Ballis

Title: Good Enough to Eat
Author: Stacey Ballis
ISBN: 9780425229637
Pages: 320
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

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.

Review:

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.

Comments

  1. This is on my wish list so I only checked your rating – glad to see 4.5/5. I’ll come back to read the rest after I read the novel.

  2. This is on my wish list so I only checked your rating – glad to see 4.5/5. I’ll come back to read the rest after I read the novel.

  3. I really want to get my hands on this book. I love that the main character is plus size. Sometimes I get tired of all the characters in a book being stunningly gorgeous.

  4. I really want to get my hands on this book. I love that the main character is plus size. Sometimes I get tired of all the characters in a book being stunningly gorgeous.

  5. I’m not fond of the recipe gimmick, but I have to say that if you must, this book has fond a good way to do it- in the back, where it won’t disrupt the flow of the novel.

  6. I’m not fond of the recipe gimmick, but I have to say that if you must, this book has fond a good way to do it- in the back, where it won’t disrupt the flow of the novel.

  7. I really want to read this one. I have a good friend who lost over 100 pounds some years ago and it changed her life in ways that she was not expecting. This novel would definitely resonate with her as well.

  8. I really want to read this one. I have a good friend who lost over 100 pounds some years ago and it changed her life in ways that she was not expecting. This novel would definitely resonate with her as well.

  9. I hadn’t heard of this book before, but it sounds like something I would love! I agree with Kathy, it’s nice to see a plus size heroine, because most of them are rail thin and perfect. I am going to have to add this book to my wish list. Thanks so much for sharing it!!

  10. I hadn’t heard of this book before, but it sounds like something I would love! I agree with Kathy, it’s nice to see a plus size heroine, because most of them are rail thin and perfect. I am going to have to add this book to my wish list. Thanks so much for sharing it!!

  11. I agree with Kathy above — it’s so refreshing to find characters that don’t immediately fit the stunningly-gorgeous, size-two-and-loving-it mold. It’s simply not realistic, and I need realism if I’m going to identify with a character! This sounds like one I would really enjoy… thanks for a great review!

  12. I agree with Kathy above — it’s so refreshing to find characters that don’t immediately fit the stunningly-gorgeous, size-two-and-loving-it mold. It’s simply not realistic, and I need realism if I’m going to identify with a character! This sounds like one I would really enjoy… thanks for a great review!

  13. Nice review. I really enjoyed this book as well. For those who haven’t read it yet, pick it up!

  14. Nice review. I really enjoyed this book as well. For those who haven’t read it yet, pick it up!

  15. I haven’t heard of this one, but I really want to read it now. It sounds great. I’ll have to add it to my wishlist. You always cause me to add more books to my wishlist.

  16. I haven’t heard of this one, but I really want to read it now. It sounds great. I’ll have to add it to my wishlist. You always cause me to add more books to my wishlist.

  17. I’ve wanted to read this one and your review just makes me want to find a copy sooner!

  18. I’ve wanted to read this one and your review just makes me want to find a copy sooner!

  19. You have definitely piqued my interest with this one. I’ll be keeping my eye out for a review of some of the recipes!

  20. You have definitely piqued my interest with this one. I’ll be keeping my eye out for a review of some of the recipes!

  21. What is it about food in books? They are so great. I’ll have to look this one up! Thanks for sharing your review.

  22. What is it about food in books? They are so great. I’ll have to look this one up! Thanks for sharing your review.

  23. I love books like this and the fact that it has a twist – perfect!

  24. I love books like this and the fact that it has a twist – perfect!

  25. I think I am addicted to food too! God, I really need to get to this book!

  26. I think I am addicted to food too! God, I really need to get to this book!

  27. I purchased this book on Tuesday for my weekend trip. I finished my current read last night and decided I couldn’t wait for my trip to start reading Good Enough to Eat. It’s really good so far. I could not put it down.

  28. I purchased this book on Tuesday for my weekend trip. I finished my current read last night and decided I couldn’t wait for my trip to start reading Good Enough to Eat. It’s really good so far. I could not put it down.

  29. I’m picking this up at the library today and it is going to be part of my Chicago authors month, so I’m glad to see how much you liked it.

  30. I’m picking this up at the library today and it is going to be part of my Chicago authors month, so I’m glad to see how much you liked it.

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