Crave A memoir of food and longing

Christine Scherick O'Brien

Book - 2018

Hunger comes in many forms. O'Brien grew up in NYC's famous Dakota apartments. Her father, Ed Scherick, was an ABC television executive and film producer; her mother, Carol, a former a Miss Missouri and a finalist place in The Miss America Contest. But, having been injured in a farming accident when she was a girl, Carol craved health even though doctors told her that she was perfectly fine. Her tyranny of the dinner table led Christine to her own cravings for family, for food and for ...the words to tell the story of her hunger. -- adapted from publisher info.

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

306.8743/O'Brien
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 306.8743/O'Brien Checked In
Review by Booklist Reviews

O'Brien offers a peek behind the facade of her privileged childhood in this compelling memoir. Growing up in the Dakota Apartments with glamorous parents—her father, the legendary ABC executive Edgar Scherick, and her mother, Carol, a former beauty queen—the author and her brothers were subject to their father's volatile temper and their mother's eccentricity. Carol, who suffered lifelong health problems due to a farming accident, turns to extreme nutrition to help herself when doctors can't find anything wrong. She becomes convinced that the Program, a diet instituted by a crooked doctor, will save them all. Her devotion to the Program never wavers, even as her constantly hungry children sneak food and her marriage starts falling apart. O'Brien is a descriptive writer, and it is easy to imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood. She loses steam late in the book, writing about her own marriage and children, and rushes her ending. Still, that does little to take away from this page-turner, reminiscent of Caroline Knapp's and Jeannette Walls' memoirs. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Food and family play out on the forefront of this memoir from O'Brien (English, St. Mary's Coll.), who struggles to find herself and happiness alongside domineering, television executive father Edgar and controlling, former beauty queen mother Carol. In an effort to cure ailments and fortify her family, Carol places everyone on "The Program," a diet regimen consisting of fruit juices, blended salads, and egg yolks. Here begins O'Brien's challenges with cravings; a psychological demon that spreads beyond the kitchen and into her relationships with friends and her body. In an effort to achieve purity, O'Brien is racked with guilt each time she strays from "The Program," at last indulging and satisfying her constant hunger. After becoming a mother herself and understanding the dangers posed to her own children, she comes to empathize with her mother's need to control and protect her family with food. The development of her own wellness plan, designed to fulfill her nutritional and emotional needs, is a lifelong battle that she seems to overcome through constant reflections on her life. VERDICT A thoroughly engaging memoir; recommended where memoirs circulate widely.—Mattie Cook, Flat River Community Lib., MI Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Christine O'Brien remembers growing up in NYC's famous Dakota apartment with her powerful father, her beautiful mother, and a food obsessesion that consumed her. Hunger comes in many forms. A person can crave a steak in the same way that she can crave aperfect family life. In her memoir, Crave: A Memoir of Food and Longing, Christine O'Brien tells the story of her own cravings. It's a story of growing up in a family with a successful, but explosive father, a beautiful, but damaged, mother and three brothers in New York City's famed Dakota apartment building. Christine's father was Ed Scherick, the ABC television executive and film producer who created ABC's Wide World of Sports as well as classic films like The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and The Heartbreak Kid. Her mother, Carol, was raised on a farm in Missouri. With chestnut hair and the all-American good looks that won her the title of Miss Missouri and a finalist place in The Miss America Contest she looked to be the perfect wife and mother. But, Carol had a craving that was almost impossible to fill. Seriously injured in a farming accident when she was a girl, she craved health even though doctors told her that she was perfectly fine. Setting out on a journey through the quacks of the East Coast, she began seeing a doctor who prescribed "The Program" as a way to health for her and her family. At first she ate nothing but raw liver and drank shakes made with fresh yeast. Then it was blended salads, the forerunner of the smoothie. And that was all she let her family eat. This well-meant tyranny of the dinner table led Christine to her own cravings for family, for food and for the words to tell the story of her hunger. Crave is that story--the chronicle of a writer's painful and ultimately satisfying awakening."--Provided by publisher.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The author recounts a life spent struggling with food, telling the story of her own cravings and her painful, yet ultimately satisfying, journey to find balance.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In this heart-wrenching memoir, the author, the daughter of an Academy Award-winning film producer, recounts a life spent struggling with food, telling the story of her own cravings and her painful, yet ultimately satisfying, journey to find balance.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

“Do you mind that I’m going to be writing a book about the fact that I was hungry?” I asked my mother. “Just tell a good story,” she replied.

Hunger comes in many forms. In her memoir, Crave, Christine S. O’Brien tells a story of family turmoil and incessant hunger hidden behind the luxury and privilege of New York’s famed Dakota apartment building. Her explosively angry father was ABC Executive Ed Scherick, the successful television and film producer who created shows and films like ABC’s Wide World of Sports and The Stepford Wives. Raised on farm in the Midwest, her calm, beautiful mother Carol narrowly survived a dramatic accident when she was child. There was no hint of instability in her life until one day she collapsed in the family’s apartment and spent the next year in bed. “Your mother’s illness is not physical,” Christine’s father tells her.

Craving a cure for a malady that the doctors said had no physical basis, Carol resorted to increasingly bizarre nutritional diets—from raw liver to fresh yeast—before beginning a rigid dietary regime known as “The Program.” It consisted largely of celery juice and blended saladsa forerunner of today’s smoothie. Determined to preserve the health of her family, Carol insisted that they follow The Program. Despite their constant hunger, Christine and her three younger brothers loyally followed their mother’s eating plan, even as their father’s rage grew and grew. The more their father screamed, the more their mother’s very survival seemed to depend on their total adherence to The Program.

This well-meant tyranny of the dinner table led Christine to her own cravings for family, for food, and for the words to tell the story of her hunger. Crave is the chronicle of Christine’s painful and ultimately satisfying awakening. And, just as her mother asked, it’s a good story.