Carrie Rubin’s Novel EATING BULL and My Personal Food Connection

EatingBullCover

I know I’ve read a great book when I’m still thinking about it months after I’ve turned the final pages. Carrie Rubin’s Eating Bull is one of those books. It is a tightly crafted thriller, told from the point of view of three characters: Jeremy, an overweight, bullied teen whose favorite friend is food; Sue, the pubic health nurse on a mission to sue to food industry for their reckless manipulation of consumers; and, finally, Darwin, the mystery serial killer who is targeting the obese. It’s a mix of mystery whodunit, horror story, and public health crisis all rolled into one.

Many of the characters are suffering some past emotional trauma which is pulled into their eating habits. This backdrop makes these characters seem all the more human and vulnerable. I thought Carrie did a masterful job of telling a horrific story, alongside the complexities of food.

While eating is foremost about survival, it is so much more than that in the modern era of food convenience and choices. Food relates to our health, quality of life, eating habits, social gatherings, and family. Socio-economic factors play a role, too, and often hinder access to healthy food or enough food. Food is not an equal opportunity for all.

After reading Carrie’s book, I pondered this complex issue of food and how it related to my life. More recently, I have attempted a few clean eating challenges offered by my boot camp, because we know exercise isn’t enough and especially as we age. Sigh. On a positive note, I’ve spent most of my life not worrying about calories and meal choices and their impact on my health. Now that I’m getting older, it’s not so easy. So, I took on these clean eating challenges, which meant eating mostly real food, either from the ground or from an animal. While I’d like to be vegetarian, so far I’m not. Nothing processed, nothing out of a box, and very little sugar or salt.

In these efforts to control my eating choices, I could relate to Carrie’s characters in her book. My meal choices of lean protein and vegetables were quite similar to those of Sue. As we are made aware of her restrictive choices, it feels as if Sue, too, is noting them for herself. I also identified with Jeremy’s hunger for more, even when I wasn’t hungry. It’s emotional eating and I never felt this so strongly as I did when everything I loved was removed, especially carbs! I missed snacking. It was tough.

Jeremy’s mother Connie also has her share of challenges of feeding her family healthy options with limited time and resources, not to mention with different needs in mind. Would her son and father eat the same foods, for example? This is a constant struggle with my household and cafeteria-style planning and eating. When I did the clean eating challenge (for six weeks) it meant cooking separate meals for my family, which made it extra challenging. While there may be solutions for all these problems, it doesn’t make them any easier.

What’s more, there’s a public health scenario looming in the story: suing the food industry. I, for one, did not think this was that far-fetched. While it may never happen, I hope Carrie’s book encourages a careful look at their practices.

For example, no matter how much willpower I have, I can’t just have one stop at the Famous Amos cookie box. I just can’t!! One reach turns into three. I lost count of the number of cookies.

Well, they are famous.
Well, they are famous.

And then I saw this video about how America is getting hooked on processed food. You must watch this eye-opening video. Have you ever heard of “Vanishing Caloric Density”? It’s no wonder I love cheese puffs so much!

Talk about reckless manipulation of consumers. Carrie weaves all these complex issues with a serial killer on the loose. All the while, the issues don’t get lost in the story or take over, but add layers of intrigue for a compelling, entertaining read.

It’s no wonder that Eating Bull is the silver medal winner in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) for Great Lakes, Best Regional Fiction. Congratulations to Carrie! 

Here’s a link to Eating Bull on Amazon. If you haven’t read it, pick up a copy today.

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34 thoughts on “Carrie Rubin’s Novel EATING BULL and My Personal Food Connection

  1. Interesting how you’ve related your own relationship with food to Carrie’s book like that. I really enjoyed Carrie’s book too, it’s an unusual premise isn’t it, but works really well. I tend to go through phases with eating really healthily, and then slipping in to bad habits. I hate that sluggish feeling you can get if you eat too much junk or sugary food, and yet the temptation can be so hard to resist!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Vanessa. I did a separate review on Amazon, but thought I would share here on my blog. It’s hard not for food to be personal because it’s so consuming. Even when it’s convenient, my planning around food isn’t as efficient as I’d like it to be! I know that sluggish feeling you talk about. Yes. I do okay, but I slip, because the snacks are so yummy and there is the emotional component. Even when I did my clean eating and had enough to eat, I wanted the snacks. Oh, the temptation!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The longer you go without the bad stuff though, the less it has a hold over you. It’s like giving up smoking, or anything like that really, it’s hard at first, and you feel like you’re really depriving yourself, but then gradually the cravings go…however, we can never be complacent because we can all too easily slip back into the bad ways again!

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      2. The cravings always come back for me it seems. Probably, the best thing is just not to have it around. But I think it’s okay in moderation. When we did these challenges, we were allowed to “cheat.”

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  2. Wow, Amy, thank you so much for this! You’ve captured what I tried to convey with the novel, and I like how you relate it to your own eating and habits. Many of us have a complex relationship with food, I think. Whether we consume too much of it, actively try to avoid certain types of it, find we have to eat less of it as we get older (sigh–I watch my 16-year-old with his 29-inch waist devour almost an entire pizza and get pangs of envy while I do so), it factors into most of our lives in some way or another beyond the nutrient nature of it.

    There have actually been lawsuits against fast-food chains (I believe mostly McDonalds) for creating an environment conducive to obesity. They have not gone anywhere, but they may in the future. Tobacco lawsuits didn’t go anywhere at first, either. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more lawsuits. I’m not saying it’s right to do so–in fact, I think there are better ways to go about it–but it could happen.

    Thank you again so much for this. I’m truly honored you featured the book on your blog, along with your wonderful commentary. Absolutely made my day!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so thrilled I made your day! I’m pleased you liked my post and what I had to say. I could go on, Carrie, but I know I need to limit my words here. 🙂 Food is so complex. You think it might be easier going back to Hunting and Gathering? Sometimes, I think so. I’m not surprised that McDonalds has a lawsuit. Ooh, I have a picture with a McDonald’s hamburger in a case and you wouldn’t believe the way it’s practically unchanged after sitting there for four months! I don’t expect it to change at all. What’s in that thing, right? With obesity being such a problem, I wouldn’t be surprised either if the food industry/fast foods got a closer look at how they approach selling food.
      Congrats again on your award. I was so happy I could include it here!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. It was a treat to get the award. And yes, some of the preservatives in foods are scary. Too bad they can’t preserve our skin as well as they preserve a hamburger!

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    2. I wanted to add, yes, yes…my son devours everything! I can’t keep enough food in the house. Except just yesterday, he got braces. So that might be changing some. Poor thing is in pain.

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  3. I love Carrie’s book, and like you, it’s stayed with me long after I read the final words. Carrie is an amazing author and this book will certainly go on to win more awards 😀

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  4. Yeah. Carrie’s book is a good one.

    And this whole food thing is a conundrum. I’m firmly convinced that processed foods and high fructose corn syrup are at the root of all dietary evils. But the idea of going without those seems so insurmountable. And the reality for me is that most of my dietary issues really have to do with liquid calories — soda (high fructose corn syrup) and beer. Actual food consumption isn’t as big of a problem. And my continuing struggles with the liquid calories make me realize more and more how those with weight issues are not so deserving of critical judgment from the rest of us. Fortunately, I have yet to deal with a major weight issue, but I do know that I need better consumption habits and I have found it virtually impossible to make a real change that lasts longer than a couple of days.

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    1. Good for you for your good eating, Mark. I can see why people struggle with soda. There’s so much sugar in those and in a lot of drinks out there. Even Gatorade has a ton of sugar. Good luck moderating your beer consumption. Mine used to be wine but I don’t drink it as much anymore. I’ve been a lot better. I think exercising helped me a lot. Are you still running?? As far as judging others is concerned, I think eating and weight loss is such a personal issue. What people need is support more than anything. P.S. My clean eating challenge was six weeks long. Ooh, it was hard. They say to really change habits, you need to do something for at least one month! It’s at that point I want to throw in the towel.

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  5. Great job at integrating a book review and a personal story. It seems the book is perfectly timed with your personal story and the difficulties that changing food habits is for most of us … me included. Amy – simply a superb post.

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    1. Sue’s diet was similar to the stuff I was eating. It made me laugh. I thought Carrie knows her stuff. Eating is such an emotionally charged activity. It shouldn’t be, I suppose, but it seems to be. It should be all about nutritional value and survival, but when it’s not that, it becomes something else. And then you throw your family’s eating habits into the mix. Yikes. Thank you, Frank.

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  6. Amy, I’ve not read Carrie’s book and I’ve been meaning to because it’s sounds great! I read Seneca Scourge. Great review and great job of weaving your own personal experience with food. I grew up in a very small town and we always had a garden with fresh vegetables. So I think I was eating “organic” before it became popular and expensive. I like the push toward making good food available to all and I think it’s crucial. I think many of our health problems can be directly related to processed food.

    Since I’m older I know that now and know better about what I put in my body is important. Though, I do miss the days when I could eat any and every thing without gaining an ounce! As Oscar Wilde said: Everything in moderation including moderation. That’s doable for most things. Except when you’re on vacation or when it comes to cake. :).

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    1. Thank you, Brigitte. You’ll have to read Carrie’s book. I know you’ll enjoy it. We had a garden, too, for a while but I think it was only temporary. How nice you grew up with one. It’s true organic seems to be pretty expensive. I’d like to grow a few things on my own. Maybe I should do that! Processed food is way out of control. It’s hard to avoid it all and like you said, in moderation. Nice quote from Wide. 🙂 But we can’t possibly give up cake and all bets are off on vacation.

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  7. I, too, went through a food transition, (I refuse to call it diet), and started with wheat, sugar, and processed foods. I also added some supplements for nutrients my Spectracell test indicated I lacked. This all came down as a result of a diabetes type 2 diagnosis. I’ve lost forty pounds, and still have forty to go, but there is progress. And my diabetes is now back to the pre-diabetes levels. MY husband’s pre-levels are back to normal. It’s a sensitive topic and the thought of suing the food industry is controversial. I applaud Carrie for taking it on and obviously doing a splendid job of it.I read her first book and will be on vacation next week with plans to read this one. Great review, great personal story. Keep at it…it’s progress, not perfection.

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    1. That’s a good idea. I don’t like to call it a diet either. It’s really a new way of eating and, hopefully, one that is lasting. I know how I should eat and I think I’ve improved, but there’s always room for more improvement. Congratulations on your losing 40 pounds. Wow, that’s awesome! Good for husband as well. So much about what I’ll call purposeful eating (instead of diet!) is mental and retraining your taste buds. We really don’t need all that sugar. I know suing industry is a long shot, although Carrie mentioned several fast foods have been sued. What is hopeful is that issues are being addressed. I’m always satisfied with progress. Thanks so much for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on LargeSelf and commented:
    I just finished reading “Eating Bull” and I found it intriguing. Carrie Rubin does a fantastic job of capturing many of the complex issues around obesity all wrapped into a captivating thriller.

    I loved Amy’s review and agree wholeheartedly so I’m reblogging here. Have a great week!

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  9. Excellent review, Amy. I just finished the book on Sunday night – of course I reached the part where I couldn’t put it down at about bedtime… Why does that always seem to happen? 🙂

    Anyway, I loved your take on your personal experiences here and I’m reblogging.

    Liked by 1 person

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