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Good Enough to Eat Paperback – September 7, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Melanie Hoffman and her husband Andrew have been happily married for almost 10 years but when Melanie slims down to a trim size 6 after once tipping the scale at 290 pounds, her hubby leaves her for another chubby lady. Now divorced, the 39 year-old finds solace in her successful Chicago restaurant serving healthy gourmet fare. She has a small support group there consisting of her energetic, gay sous chef, Kai, a ballsy part-time cook, Delia, and her new roomie, a 24-year-old whimsical vagabond named Nadia. As Melanie slowly sweeps up the crumbs of fallen love, she finds Nathan and the handsome documentary filmmaker helps her overcome her body image issues. Ballis's (The Spinster Sisters) use of the enjoyment of cooking and eating as a continuous theme with featured recipes in the back is a nice addition, but the heart of her book lies within the jagged mind of Melanie and her daily struggle that most women, fat or thin, endure. Women will savor the brutal honesty of how Melanie sees her body, her battles with food, her failed marriage, and her fear of new love. (Sept.)
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From Booklist

Melanie, 39, is thrown for a major loop when, after she works hard to lose 145 pounds, her husband leaves her for a woman as heavy as Melanie used to be. Heartbroken, she throws her energy into the healthy-food café she founded, Dining by Design. Melanie is hanging on financially until she finds out that her condo association is assessing a hefty fee for a major repair, forcing Melanie to take in a roommate: free-spirited Nadia, who at 24 is on the run from a past she refuses to talk about. Despite their different backgrounds and ages, the two become friends, and Nadia starts working part-time at the café. The novel’s conflicts are few and relatively tame, but food lovers will certainly appreciate Ballis’ sumptuous descriptions of the meals Melanie and her friends cook up; and 40 pages of recipes are provided for readers eager to try their hand at some of the dishes. --Kristine Huntley

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1 edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425229637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425229637
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stacey Ballis is the author of several novels, incuding Inappropriate Men, Sleeping Over, Room for Improvement, The Spinster Sisters, Good Enough to Eat, Off the Menu and Out to Lunch, and the upcoming Recipe for Disaster currently available for pre-order, being released March 3, 2013. Her first cookbook, Big Delicious Life is out now in a digital edition, and she is at work co-authoring a new cookbook called Cooking for You: Wellness in the Kitchen with Dr. Francis Ardito, which will be released in 2015. She is also a contributing author to the anthologies Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, and Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume, and Living Jewishly. She is currently at work on a new work of full-length fiction called for Berkeley/Penguin, which will be out in 2016.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By WFUgirl on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read "Good enough to eat" in 2 days flat. It's a light hearted read with serious warmth. Melanie, the heroine, is struggling with a new life...She's coping with all sorts of new stresses from her recent divorce, significant weight-loss, a business, unexpected financial woes, as well as new personal relationships.

What I like most about Melanie (and all of Stacey's heroines that I've "met" so far) is that she's real. She has flaws & insecurities, as well as, successes & pride. Ballis provides the crucial amount of insight into Melanie so that I can understand and relate to her, without becoming irritated that the plot is being overrun by the protagonist's inner thoughts. The "supporting cast" are colorful, soulful, real.

Real is simply the best adjective I have for all of it. The romance is real, the life issues are real... It isn't a storybook fairytale, it's a glimpse into a fictional character's life.

It's chick-lit, or "women's fiction" without the trite sap.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Deborah VINE VOICE on September 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm sure there are many women out there who feel that they have to lose weight in order to either attract a guy or keep a guy's interest. So imagine the shock if you do happen to lose weight and your guy dumps you because he liked you better when you were bigger. It's not something someone would normally expect but that's just what happens to Melanie in this book. I don't know what I would do if I were in that situation. It's totally understandable as to why her self esteem went down. I mean, here you are trying to be healthy and not losing weight for selfish reasons and then your husband breaks up with you because he misses that extra weight. It wasn't even that she was a normal size and losing unnecessary weight. Melanie was actually in the obese range and learning to be healthy and then her husband does that to her. It's enough to make anyone get depressed and gain back all that weight but thanks to her nutritional counselor friend Carey and her coworkers at the restaurant/shop she owns, Melanie is able to slowly pull out of that funk.

I loved reading about her entrepreneurship with her cafe. I would gladly come to Chicago just to eat there. Everything sounded delicious and it also sounded like a really fun place to work. The characters that make up this novel are very engaging. I really liked Melanie's relationship with Nadia. At first they start off as an "Odd Couple" type of relationship but eventually they grow closer but still maintain that off beat distance. Nadia's story is equally as interesting to read about. Plus there's an Amish twist! (I can't seem to escape them) One of my favorite parts of the book is when Melanie travels to DC to visit her friend and ends up touring the Holocaust Museum. If you have not been that museum, it is worth alone a trip to DC just to visit it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By skrishna VINE VOICE on September 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'll admit it, I had pretty high expectations for Stacey Ballis' Good Enough To Eat going in. After all, I've been hearing about it for months through Jen Lancaster's blog. Jen and Stacey are close friends, and Jen's really been doing her part to spread the world about this book release. Therefore, when I received it, I couldn't wait to get to it. I love reading books about food and it sounded like a great story.

I was thrilled that Good Enough to Eat surpassed my expectations. First of all, the story was wonderful. I absolutely love that it wasn't your typical girl-loses-weight story. Mel worked incredibly hard to lose weight, and it wasn't about how she looked. It was about how she felt about herself, plus her health problems. Once Mel lost that weight, she had a love-hate relationship with food. I loved reading about her learning to appreciate each mouthful of food, rather than eating so fast she couldn't taste each bite. She was also very strong, constantly resisting the temptation to binge when things weren't going her way.

I also appreciated that this wasn't a magic story - Mel struggled with food on a daily basis. At one point Ballis compares food addiction to a drug habit or alcoholism, and makes the very good point that if alcoholics or drug users were required to take their drug of choice, but only in moderation, exercising self-control three times a day, it would be incredibly difficult. It makes it even harder for Mel that she works around food, albeit very healthy food that helped her to lose weight.

The storyline in Good Enough to Eat doesn't follow your typical women's fiction pattern either. Around each corner was a surprise, which made this book very fresh. And the food. Oh, the food.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MonicaM on July 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Big fan of quality women's fiction, especially with a foodie angle (i.e., 'How to Bake a Perfect Life,' 'The Love Goddess' Cooking School,' etc.). This fell short of my expectations - loved the idea behind the story, just not the best execution (wooden dialogue, for example). It didn't hold my interest very well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By October on June 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was disappointed by this book; the concept was good but the execution was terrible. The dialogue was wooden and stilted, the characters were flat, and the plot moved along way too easily for the main character with very little 'actual' conflict. I've read other stuff by this author and she has done better before. With this book, the author just completely dropped the ball. Thumbs down.
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