The newest novel by Orange Prize winner Lionel Shriver is an emotional portrait of a brother and sister bound by the vow to lose weight at any cost. When Edison comes to visit Pandora, she is shocked to see he has gained so much weight that he is unrecognizable as the svelte New York jazz pianist she was always proud to know. Edison's extended visit home strains relations in Pandora's family, when her orthorexic husband and teenage step-children watch with horror as Edison glibly self destructs with food. Pandora decides that her choices are to either accept the role of enabler while Edison descends on her pantry like a plague of locusts until he leaves, or to intervene and assist him in losing the hundreds of pounds he has gained since she last saw him. The anger between Pandora's husband, Fletcher, and Edison is palpable as they rival for her time and attention, fraying the bonds of Pandora and Fletcher's marriage. Shriver's characters in Big Brother are not as dark as those in We Need to Talk About Kevin, but her examinations of how we view obesity and and the personal strain it causes for those affected are thoughtful and nuanced. And, of course, there's a shock for readers at the end of this page turner.
Anna @ Central