cover image Reinventing Eve

Reinventing Eve

Kim Chernin. Crown Publishers, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8129-1320-0

Last in a trilogy on the cultural implications of women's preoccupation with food (The Obsession, The Hungry Self), this radical, visionary work also follows The Flame Bearers, a novel on a sect of Jewish women that secretly worshipped the Mother Goddess. Though it is loosely structured and bogs down in psychoanalytic jargon and the author's murky, mystical personal quest, this is, nonetheless, an intriguing study of an issue of ascending import: how women can recreate a female psyche that will effectively challenge and transform traditional patriarchal culture. From Chernin's keen perspective, women, if they are to tap their authentic potential, must reclaim forgotten forms of female knowledge and power, often repressed because they are associated with oppressive mothers or religious taboos. Her discussion of the dilemma of Eve in the Garden of Edenwhether to eat or not to eat a forbidden foodexplores the meaning of food vis-a-vis female creativity and its prohibition in a father-dominated culture. Eve, ""a heroine of disobedience,'' discovers she has been made in the image of the Mother Goddess and possesses her capacity for self-assertion, sovereignty and sensuality. Chernin also proffers a provocative ``breast'' theory to replace the traditional penis-envy explanation of why a girl turns from the mother and chooses the father in the course of normal development. (September 28)