Title: Gluten Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back…And How You Can Too
Author: Shauna James Ahern
Review: Shauna James Ahern grew up in a family where boxed and processed foods were the norm. After years of feeling perpetually under the weather, always slow to recover from illness and generally feeling worn out and torn down, Ahern was diagnosed with celiac disease, an intolerance to gluten. After her diagnosis, Ahern began to explore food in a new way, starting a blog to write about her experiences learning to love food and her life again. Gluten-Free Girl is a memoir of her experiences and a manifesto about how to eat well (regardless of whether or not you can eat gluten).
What I liked about this book was that reading it felt like a joyful experience. Yes, Ahern is very opinionated about food and how to eat well (no one who writes a book like this wouldn’t be). But in that forcefulness is a really sense of happiness, of wanting other people to be able to follow her journey and find a way to love food as much as she does and find food that can make life better. That’s something I get (whether or not I actually practice it in what I eat) and that I like to read.
However, I was disappointed in the overall cohesion of the book. It felt like each of the chapters was written as a separate essay (a separate blog post, perhaps?), and then no one went back and read all of them together as carefully as they could have. This left quite a few repetitive anecdotes and phrases that came out in many of the essays. The first time I’d read an anecdote I’d really like it, but by the end of the book I’d read it more than enough times. Still, this is a particular pet peeve of mine, and I’m not sure how many other people would notice, as each chapter stands up quite well on its own.
Gluten-Free Girl is a memoir about love, food, and being in love with food, and learning to make choices about what you eat that make food into something that makes life better rather than just a necessity. If that love is something you agree with you aspire too, there are lessons to be learned in this book.
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