Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: Magnificent Obesity

On Amazon 
Martha Moravec's desire to write came at an early age. She describes the bliss of hiding in a specifically obscure room of her house, writing novels uninterrupted. She hid because she knew her family wouldn't understand.

Despite continual discouragement from her family and with a teetering self-image, Martha enters adulthood in search of that certain something that will set her apart, give her life meaning. Like most of us, the voices of her past held her back. They manifested as anxiety, agnosticism, addictive behavior and aging.

At fifty-four, Martha suffered a heart attack that forced her to examine her life and the changes she needed to make.

Magnificent Obesity: My Search for Wellness, Voice and Meaning in the Second Half of Life chronicles Martha's five-year journey that started with that terrifying wake up call.

Once she is released from the hospital, Martha efficiently forms a support team that helps her through the physical and emotional challenges she must face to keep her anxiety and weight loss in check. Like most of us, she's not exactly gung ho about digging into her past. She views her family's insensitivity from an unemotional distance.

I don't remember dwelling on it and I never brought it up, but I probably felt the same hurt I experienced when, as a pre-pubescent child packed in the car with my siblings approaching a bridge with a specified weight limit, I heard my father say, "Oops, we better stop and let Marty out to lighten the load." Everybody laughed.    

I found myself getting angry with the way Martha was treated by those who were supposed to love and protect her. The blatant disregard for her feelings frankly really pissed me off. 

But this isn't a book about abuse and Martha doesn't dish a woe-is-me tale. In fact, this book does just the opposite. It illuminates what a smart, funny, talented, warmhearted and resilient person Martha is, despite some very unfortunate circumstances. There are many subjects I could relate to in this book. Coming to terms with my own mortality and aging and anxiety. Most importantly finding a sense of freedom despite life's uncertainties. 

Martha and I have been online friends for the past few years so when her book was released a few months ago, I knew it would be a must-read. And I wasn't disappointed. Martha's gift for writing is evident on every page.

There is great fun in placing "magnificent" in front of every word. Magnificent Fun. Magnificent Beans. Magnificent Fool. It doesn't confer absolute goodness upon the thing it modifies. I'm not saying that obesity is all good, healthy and desirable. But placing magnificent in front of anything, including obesity, gives it grandeur. It gives it gravitas. It gives you a dignified, generous place to begin. 
I love that! 

Congratulations, Martha. 

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