Week Twelve: Eat My Heart Out

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This week’s book was Eat My Heart Out, a debut novel by Zoe Pilger. Described as ‘Bridget Jones for the hipster generation’, I was quite intrigued by this book (not that I consider myself a hipster). It follows the life of Anne-Marie, a 23 year old Londoner going through somewhat of a crisis. She’s failed her degree and been kicked out of Cambridge and been betrayed by her best friend Allegra and her ex-boyfriend Sebastian, who are heading off to Mexico together ‘at some point’. Anne-Marie goes from one night stand to one night stand, gets fired from her job at a Soho restaurant but somehow meets self-help guru, Stephanie Haight, who takes her in as a her protege and attempts to ‘heal’ Anne-Marie using some pretty bizarre methods, including locking her in a recording studio and forcing her to sing Beyonce over and over until she breaks down… very odd.

I am going to be quite bold here and say that I hated this book. It’s horrible – Anne-Marie is just a horrible character who has no boundaries whatsoever. All her friends are horrible people and it just made me feel quite dirty and uncomfortable to read. Much of my discomfort towards this book comes from the way sex is presented – Anne-Marie just does horrible things with horrible men that I’m sorry, I just don’t really want to read about. I didn’t think I was a prude, but perhaps I am! I wouldn’t say that the writing is bad, there is a gritty, graphic quality to the writing – it kind of reminds me of the TV series Girls, except not as funny. I get that it’s supposed to be a satire but it just didn’t do it for me. At first I was quite repulsed, then I lost interest – a pretty disappointing read unfortunately.

I wracked my head long and hard as to what I could cook to encompass this book. The problem is, all the references to food made me feel quite sick – the rabbits prepared in the restaurant that Anne-Marie works at are ‘raped’ by the chefs (gross), a creme-de-menthe bottle is used to penetrate a girl (rank) and there’s even a scene where Anne-Marie runs into Tesco and takes refuge in the meat aisle where she overcome by the desire to masturbate with some offal (yuck)!!! Maybe I have delicate sensitivities, but it put me right off my food!! So a bit of a cop out this week…

Interestingly the book has actually got pretty good reviews, including one from the Daily Mail, which is quite surprising given its tendency to hate and condemn everything! So if you are intrigued by this book then don’t let me put you off. Maybe I am not a liberal as I thought I was…. or perhaps Zoe Pilger has just got a really good publicist!!

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