As I’ve reported here on the blog, I’ve made some major changes in diet and lifestyle. I was always a skinny youth. They called me twiggy in high school and college. I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease at twenty-one. I had a hyperthyroid and could eat anything in sight without gaining an ounce. I was 115 pounds in the fifth grade and 115 pounds the day after my third child was born. My doctor told me that my thyroid would someday wear out from overworking.
I developed terrible eating habits as a result and when that thyroid did wear out at age fifty, I quickly went to 230 pounds. Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes was my wake-up call. With diet and lifestyle changes I’ve managed to lose forty pounds. Even though I’ve slipped from time to time, I’ve only gained back about four pounds and I have my diabetes controlled down to where the figures indicate pre-diabetes. But my youngest son is not so lucky.
At sixteen, and nearing three-hundred and 5”6 inches, and dependent on inhalers for weight related asthma, he was fat-shamed, bullied and had his life threatened more than once. Dropping out of his Georgia high school is how he chose to handle the situation when he could not get support from school officials. Sitting at home playing video games, he fell deeper and deeper into the abyss, became horribly socially anxious, and his dad became his only friend, bringing him fast food and chicken wings by the pounds every evening. My son is a sweet-hearted guy who takes care of his grandparents and their farm as well as his ailing father.
I was living in Florida and felt helpless, powerless to do anything to improve his situation.
Carrie Rubin’s book, Eating Bull, is a medical thriller that addresses the food industry’s part in the staggering statistics of obesity in this country. Salt, fat and sugar…body altering oils that humans should never ingest, much less fry food in, are used to perpetuate a diet that cannot sustain life for many generations without disastrous consequences. The processed foods we enjoy are slowly but surely killing us and her book sheds light on both the emotional and physical challenges we face, while providing an edge of the seat thriller involving a mentally disturbed serial killer who is targeting the obese. I give this book four stars.
2016 Silver IPPY Award winner in Great Lakes Best Regional Fiction*
A fight against the food industry turns deadly.
Jeremy, a lonely and obese teenager, shoots into the limelight when a headstrong public health nurse persuades him to sue the food industry. Tossed into a storm of media buzz and bullying, the teen draws the attention of a serial killer who’s targeting the obese. Soon the boy, the nurse, and their loved ones take center stage in a delusional man’s drama.
In this novel of suspense, Eating Bull explores the real-life issues of bullying, fat-shaming, food addiction, and the food industry’s role in obesity.
“A solid thriller that manages to infuse one boy’s coming-of-age with a whole lot of murder.”–Kirkus Reviews
The plot in this book was brilliantly executed, however, the first half of Eating Bull was very difficult for me to get through. Although well-written, the main character’s dilemmas really hit home and my empathy for him was almost too much to bear. Having a close family member who suffered as Jeremy suffered made this a most painful and powerful read. Carrie Rubin is a physician who knows, all too well, the physical and emotional trauma of obesity and its consequences on children and adults. Her characters were so well-drawn and real that I could not help but realize this is a topic she feels strongly about.
Sue, the nurse who brings a law suit against the food industry, is, indeed, a warrior woman and well represents the myriad of people determined to change the world, one patient at a time. I did feel too much time was spent in her head and caused the story to lag a bit as a result. The ancillary characters and dysfunctional family members were equally as well-drawn and remarkably real.
With a deranged serial killer suffering from severe mental illness, another light shines on how little we understand and do for the mentally ill in this country. This all culminates into an action packed plot in a most believable thriller that I could see unfolding in real life with our reality TV dominating our current culture.
I wasn’t able to get into the book and enjoy it until about the half way mark when things began to turn around for Jeremy and the action picked up. I was thrilled to see the Native American spin and applaud how that entered the book. The ending was most satisfying. The food industry, like any other, is out to make money, but it makes me sad that individuals buy into unhealthy addictions. I enjoyed Seneca Scourge, as well, and look forward to Dr. Rubin’s next release.