Big Brother

Big Brother For Pandora cooking is a form of love Alas her husband Fletcher a self employed high end cabinetmaker now spurns the toxic dishes that he d savored through their courtship and devotes hours each

For Pandora, cooking is a form of love Alas, her husband, Fletcher, a self employed high end cabinetmaker, now spurns the toxic dishes that he d savored through their courtship, and devotes hours each day to manic cycling Then, when Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at the airport, she doesn t recognize him In the years since they ve seen one another, the onceFor Pandora, cooking is a form of love Alas, her husband, Fletcher, a self employed high end cabinetmaker, now spurns the toxic dishes that he d savored through their courtship, and devotes hours each day to manic cycling Then, when Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at the airport, she doesn t recognize him In the years since they ve seen one another, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds What happened After Edison has than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum It s him or me.Rich with Shriver s distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat an issue both social and excruciatingly personal It asks just how much sacrifice we ll make to save single members of our families, and whether it s ever possible to save loved ones from themselves.

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Big Brother

  1. Lionel Shriver s novels include the New York Times bestseller The Post Birthday World and the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin, which won the 2005 Orange Prize and has now sold over a million copies worldwide Earlier books include Double Fault, A Perfectly Good Family, and Checker and the Derailleurs Her novels have been translated into twenty five languages Her journalism has appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications She lives in London and Brooklyn, New York Author photo copyright Jerry Bauer, courtesy of Harper Collins.

175 Reply to “Big Brother”

  1. I am a big Lionel Shriver fan I loved her books Let s Talk About Kevin and especially So Much for That So I was looking forward to reading her new book Big Brother, particularly since it deals with an issue that unfortunately is near and dear to my heart being overweight.The story is narrated by Pandora a forty something woman who lives with her husband Fletcher and her two teenage step children Pandora s marriage is already strained by her husband s fanatical obsession with healthy eating and e [...]

  2. If you have not read Shriver before , then start with this,her latest 2013 novel, Big Brother Shriver seems to be less acerbic than she has in her previous novels less outrage and shock are dealt by the writer s hand here Telephone calls which come in the middle of the night rarely are for good news And when Pandora is woken with a call about her brother Edison, the same is true Pandora, a successful business owner and Edison, a talented jazz pianist, have always been close They have grown up in [...]

  3. This book disappointed me in so many ways Pandora, the narrator, marries Fletcher a man who just happens to be an extreme health nut Enter her brother, Edison, who has recently gained hundreds of pounds and will eat anything that doesn t run away from his fat fingered grasp Do you have to paint such broad strokes, Lionel The plot is absurd I do understand that the author s brother died from obesity and that she wished she could do However, the way she did in this story is ridiculous Then, to m [...]

  4. I will read anything that Shriver writes I am completely tuned in to her sensibility She always picks topics and themes that other authors tend to ignore or who will write about sensationally Shriver does not shy away from politicizing or making bold statements, but she does so in such a matter of fact, specific yet humanizing that her books don t feel sensational That she also takes her stories from her own experiences helps that along I felt Pandora s revulsion when she picks her brother up fr [...]

  5. High concept and high calorieI m a sucker for novels with high concept hooks I can summarize Lionel Shriver s latest in just a few sentences Pandora Halfdanarson, a married, mid western entrepreneur, hasn t seen her older brother in four years Edison is a successful jazz pianist out of New York, and this is the longest they ve ever been apart A friend of his calls her, indicating that Edison s fallen on hard times, and she invites him to come stay for a visit At the airport, she fails to recogni [...]

  6. For the past several days I have recommended this book to family and friends, even though it contains a totally unrealistic description of how much heavy people eat, and how they eat it, and a dangerous selection of fad crash diet I felt that the introspection on our fetishism over size weight food was sufficient to ignore the other Today I finished the book, and I feel like the literature I have been consuming has been revealed to be maggot infested trash.Shriver has her anti hero consuming con [...]

  7. 2.5 sometimes even 2.75Reading this book reminded me of one of the worst dates I ever had From the initial phone call, it was clear the guy had been around the block a few too many times hence earning the name Burn Out Boy , and the date, from his perspective, and then soon enough from mine, was over before it began I don t know if it was boredom, desperation, or irritation, but I found myself slipping into this awful persona, using every big word I knew, giving intense answers to small talk que [...]

  8. If the issues of obesity and weight make you squeamish this is not the book for you As a person who was much heavier than I am today, I found Big Brother an uncomfortable read This however, did not keep me from reading on If you have a less than perfect relationship with a sibling this too might not be the book for you Yet, Shriver s exploration of her main character, Pandora s closeness to her brother Edison and the scrutiny in which she examines the meaning of family, both familial and marital [...]

  9. I had to stew on this for a few days before deciding how to rate this book Honestly, the entire first part was boring, and a lot of the language used throughout was completely unnecessary I am all about utilizing the English language intelligently, but sometimes it s impressive to read a book that is simplistically beautiful than one that feels artificially full of large words In fact, I sometimes wondered if the author was just trying to hit a word count rather than make a point That being sai [...]

  10. I listened to the audiobook version of this novel, Big Brother,and it was narrated by Alice Rosengard Lionel Shriver has become one of my favorite authors Her novels are brutally honest, insightful and although she doesn t shy away from difficult topics, she writes about them with a great deal of sensitivity In her novel,Big Brother, Ms Shriver writes about obesity our culture s obsession with food, weight loss, the perfect body type and perhaps most importantly, the emotional toll that obesity [...]

  11. Lionel Shriver is obsessed with body weight, as a subject and as a personal demon She reportedly runs ten miles a day and eats only one meal In an early Shriver novel, The New Republic, the main character has slimmed down after a fat, miserable youth In Shriver s most recent novel she tackles the subject of obesity head on, writing what at times seems to be a how to book on weight loss The main character, Pandora, is a successful business woman who has created a whimsical, internet age toy compa [...]

  12. For years, I have thought Lionel Shriver was underrated as an author I have sung the praises of the excellent We Need to Talk About Kevin and even recommended it multiple times to my most literary friend, Haley even though she still hasn t read it Jerk But despite Shriver s insightful turns of phrases that make me stop and reread them and her strong grasp of human nature, she has received only the Orange Prize No one even knows what that is In fact, I thought it was Dutch until I googled it.So [...]

  13. What would you do if a loved one was in that bad a shape that it could threaten their life without action This is what will confront Pandora when her down on his luck brother Edison comes to visit Her family life is already frazzled thanks to her exercise freak husband who seems the complete opposite of Pandora who loves her cooking and is slightly over weight Things though will become infinitely worse when her brother arrives.Pandora is stunned when she sees that in the four years since she las [...]

  14. This is the first book I have read by Lionel Shriver I started reading it with huge expectations based on rave reviews of this and earlier works Perhaps that set me up to be disappointed The main protagonist and narrator of Big Brother is Pandora, a name that means, gifted, and or the all giving See The novel is a play on these terms on how important it is to be gifted or not , all giving or not It uses the story of Pandora and her titular big brother, to address these themes Worthy themes for a [...]

  15. I don t have time to get into all the things I disliked about this book, but here are a few They re mostly about the language, but some are about the writing.SPOILER ALERT.The relationships are woefully underwritten I know nothing about the siblings childhood that would lead me to believe they were, as they narrator insists, each other s crutches and very intertwined during a difficult time She says they were, and we have to believe her.I do not for an instant buy that they were so close as chil [...]

  16. I almost shied away from this book because the topic of food addiction seemed too close for comfort And I know that Shriver who wrote one of my all time favorites, We Need to Talk About Kevin won t skirt around any controversial or uncomfortable issue so in fact I was actually scared to read this book What if the book made me feel worse about my weight and my relationship to food I threw caution to the wind and began.But I just about abandoned the book early on because an editor failed to slice [...]

  17. I loved this book I found the characters to be so well defined and I loved the simple plot of one woman finding herself stuck between two, contrary ideologies Lionel Shriver usually impresses me though she finds relevant subjects to write about, timely, as if they had been ripped right out of that morning s headlines and then, she doesn t jus show two sides to the story, she shows MANY sides Sides to the story that I had never even thought about.Of course,the topic of obesity is a touchy one, mu [...]

  18. I really enjoyed this book throughout Pandora, sister to has been jazz musician, Edison, meets her brother at the airport and almost walks right past him he s about 165 pounds heavier than she remembered him 90kg, for those of us who work best in metric After initially turning a blind eye, she appoints herself as his personal weight loss coach As a dietitian, some of Pandora s weight loss ideas make me cringe a little, however at least she involves a GP, at least at the start Shame she didn t ta [...]

  19. originally published at nomadreader The backstory Lionel Shriver is an author whose work I ve enjoyed immensely in the past After raving about So Much For That I gave it 5 stars , I also enjoyed We Need to Talk About Kevin I gave it 4.5 stars and The New Republic I gave it 4 stars I m utterly fascinated with both her work and her as a person, because her books and characters are so distinct The basics Big Brother is the story of Pandora, who grew up in Los Angeles with a father who starred on a [...]

  20. Only Shriver could manage to do the Oh, this was all a lie ending, yet still have me liking the novel Yes, I still like it Typically, I would be fucking ready to kill someone I can actually see why she did it this way In an interview, which is included in the end of the novel, she says that when she decided to go with option d , it changed how she wrote the book because she then wrote Part II as especially unbelievable Of course, this being fiction, I bought it Was therefore, superbly upset, rea [...]

  21. Wow A few years ago, I first became acquainted with Lionel Shriver s writing after reading We Need To Talk About Kevin I think I read it in just one sitting completely blown away by her storytelling skill As the years have passed, of her titles have joined the ranks in my To Be Read stacks, but this is this novel s intriguing premise made me unable to resist immediately reading it The book opens with Pandora s older brother, Edison, and his impending and prolonged stay at her Iowa home Once a h [...]

  22. I see a lot of mixed reviews of this book but I enjoyed it.Despite Big Brother finishing on a sad note and dealing with sensitive issues like eating disorders and family disputes, it is still a lighthearted story than the author s hit novel We Need To Talk About Kevin Shriver managed to pull off a cheerful and comedic story without abandoning the serious element of her writing Almost every chapter is threaded with paragraphs that contain very intelligent but fairly bleak observations of people [...]

  23. Review based on ARC.Anyone who was around me while I was forcing my way through this book suffered for my having to finish it Why did I have to finish it Because it was an advanced readers copy, and I felt like I needed to finish the whole book in order to fairly review it.But oh, the pain.So, the premise I was interested in this book and definitely wanted to read it because of its premise this is no spoiler than what appears on the back cover Main character Pandora picks up her brother Edison [...]

  24. It is no accident that I read Lionel Shriver s Big Brother almost directly after Michael Moss s excellent non fiction book Salt Sugar Fat how the Food Giants Hooked Us Through a feat of investigative reporting, Mr Moss painstakingly revealed how companies use salt, sugar and fat to addict us and linked his findings to the emerging obesity epidemic.So here is Lionel Shriver, putting a face on the back stories and statistics The face is that of the once handsome and charismatic Emerson Appaloosa, [...]

  25. Pandora Halfdanarson lives with her husband, food fascist Fletcher, and her two teenage stepchildren in Iowa She runs a successful business with her fantastic Baby Monotonous Dolls I hope the author has patented the idea,they would be sure to be a real life success and is something of a rut when we meet her Pandora s childhood was somewhat unusual her father was in a successful television show and all the members of her family are either distant or no longer alive, apart from her adored elder br [...]

  26. One of the other reviewers here wrote that this was a bunch of the author s own feelings about fat people disguised as a novel I couldn t agree The main character, while admitting that she herself has an extra thirty pounds to lose, doesn t hold back on the criticism of her fellow Americans, whom she accuses of forgetting how to eat and gorging themselves while blissfully ignorant of their expanding middles, but the worst treatment is reserved for Edison, the morbidly obese character, who is li [...]

  27. I received an Advance Reader Copy from HarperCollins I was intrigued by the premise of Big Brother Pandora, owner of a highly successful business and cooking aficionado, sees her brother Edison for the first time after many years only to learn that he is now morbidly obese After two months of Edison crashing with Pandora, her husband Fletcher, and Pandora s two stepchildren, Pandora decides to move in with Edison and help him lose weight rather than send him back to New York City with empty pock [...]

  28. 4.5 I should say at the outset two things i We Need To Talk About Kevin is one of my favourite novels of all time, and ii dieting and weight gain and liquid protein diets is a topic I know all too much about I also heard Shriver speak about this title at ChipLitFest recently, so I was dying to get into this book Shriver for me is the perfect writer She s literary enough to shine a new light on what you thought was an ordinary area of life, and show you something new about it But her prose, while [...]

  29. No time for a big review today but will come back to it later Big Brother did not disappoint, and I have a huge bias with Lionel, she is my favorite ever since reading We Need To Talk About Kevin , it made form an art form for me I imagine a lot of readers struggle sometimes to relax and read, as her prose is pointy, particular and precise It can be work to read Shriver she likes to make you earn the story as you read This book is easier than most of them, a return to a confident stride, and I [...]

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