The Man Who Couldn’t Eat Book Club

 Having learned about Jon Reiner’s The Man Who Couldn’t Eat through St. Louis’ Feast Magazine, I was intrigued about a book choice selected by a food culture magazine and regarding a topic close to home, chrone’s disease.  My uncle-in-law suffers from this condition, so I thought after reading I would send it to my aunt and uncle-in-law for reading.  Besides the fact, I am a sucker for memoirs;  learning about other peoples’ lives is intriguing and comforting all in one.
Reiner’s raw storytelling is certainly not “sugar coated.”  Chrone’s disease wreaks havoc not only on the victim’s health, but also his/her way of lifestyle and the lifestyle of those around him/her.  A scene where Reiner longingly looks at the salt-coated crinkles of a french fry and eventually licks despite his NPO (nil per os/nothing by mouth) status mirrors unrequited love.
When reflecting on his numerous stays at the hospital, Reiner writes, ” . . . hospitals have a way of breeding confessions,” (189).  Adept at description, Reiner includes the reader in every page, paragraph, and sentence.  Having recently been hospitalized, I recounted learning of a nurse’s dysfunctional ex as well as the organic eating requirements of another nurse and wondering what truths I revealed while under the influence of pain killers and lying vulnerable in a hospital bed.
For book club purposes, an evening of appetizers at Nosh was offered to the Feast Book Club at independent bookseller Left Bank Books in the Central West End in St. Louis.

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