Holy Hunger: A Woman's Journey from Food Addiction to Spiritual Fulfillment

Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Author Alfred A. Knopf $23 (272p) ISBN 978-0-375-40094-0
This unusually well-written memoir of recovery comes from an Episcopal priest who has been involved with 12-step spirituality for more than 15 years. Her addiction was to food, to which she turned for solace while growing up in a family ruled as much by repression as by overachievement. Bullitt-Jonas was a privileged child--complete with Swiss boarding school and a spacious home provided by Harvard, where her father was a star professor. However, her charismatic but cruel father slowly killed himself with alcohol, her distant mother was silenced by depression and the children were emotionally abandoned and unable to express their feelings, even to themselves. With a steady hand, Bullitt-Jonas describes the years of whole pies and batches of pancakes, the fasting and compulsive exercise by which she tried to escape her pain, until she discovered that 12-step programs helped her listen to herself. Her account of her spiritual triumph is nonsectarian--an approach in keeping with the 12-step movement. But the fact that she has become an Episcopal priest implies that she possesses a professed creed more specific than that of 12-step spirituality. Bullitt-Jonas is a good enough writer that readers will lament the lack of a more detailed, perhaps more sectarian account of her spiritual renewal. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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