Book Review: The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted

Don’t you love the title of this book? Who wouldn’t want to spend a day eating all their favorite foods? Certainly women who are members of weight loss programs. It’s our fantasy!

The author, Elizabeth Berg, and a friend were having lunch one day and observing all the women in the restaurant eating their salads. Elizabeth told her friend she was going to write a book someday with this title. And she did.

I read this book because the librarian told me to. She was talking about Elizabeth Berg and how much she liked her work and I confessed to never having read anything by her. She said the best way to get a taste of her was to read a short story collection. She then grabbed this audio version, put it in my hands, and said, “Listen to this and you will be hooked.” What can I say – the librarian was right – again.

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted is a series of thirteen essays/short stories that most females in our culture will identify with. And, it covers all ages, from teenagers to eighty-somethings. A lot of the essays are about food and body image.  The first story is the title of the book. It’s about a Weight Watcher’s member who is just so disgusted with the whole diet thing that she decides she’s going to spend the rest of the day eating anything and everything she feels like.

I listened to that story while I was walking in the neighborhood and I could not help laughing out loud. If people were peeking out their windows, I’m sure they thought I was some loony woman. These stories are not stand-up comedy. They are stories about the everyday events in most women’s lives that, when told by Elizabeth Berg, are hilarious.

My favorite story is the first one (The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted).   It’s matched with The Day I Ate Nothing I Remotely Wanted. I also liked How To Make An Apple Pie. In it, an 86-year-old woman is telling the little girl (now grown) who used to live next door how to make this pie. It’s in letter form and she rambles all over the place and tells a lot more than the recipe. It is so typical of how a person would relate the story of how to make a pie that it felt very personal.

Of course, it could have felt personal because the author was the narrator on this audiobook. I like it when authors read their own books, like when I listened to Toni Morrison read Mercy. The writer knows the inflection they heard in their head as they were writing the words. Good author-narrators can give it back to us that way.

I know some people don’t like short stories. If you are one of them, just give this audiobook a try. Just listen to one story (the first one) and see if you don’t agree with me that Elizabeth Berg is a gifted writer, short story or otherwise.

For more on Elizabeth Berg, visit her lovely website at: ElizabethBerg.

If you have read anything by Elizabeth Berg, what did you think? Do you have a book of hers you could recommend to me for my next read?

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8 Responses to Book Review: The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted

  1. Belle says:

    I love Elizabeth Berg! My favorite book by her is The Year of Pleasures – I loved it so much, I even went and got the audio so I could relisten to it whenever I want. I haven’t read this one yet, although I’ve seen the audio version at my library. I think I’ll go and place a hold on it right now!

  2. Well, after such testimony from both you and Belle, it seems hard to deny there must be a lot appealing about this author!

  3. Staci says:

    I adore Berg and haven’t read a bad book yet! I agree with Belle’s pick..that’s a good one. I loved Open House, We are All Welcome Here,….yeah…I loved them all. I’m really excited because my SIL gave me a copy of this one and it’s even autographed!!! Have I told you lately how much I love your voice in your reviews????

  4. Molly says:

    Well you know how I struggle with audio books, but I really think short stories may be the proper genre for me to listen to. This collection sounds great. I am anxious to see if my library has a copy 🙂

  5. Elisabeth says:

    I love Elizabeth Berg! I thought I had read everything she had written, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had missed one. Can’t wait to read it. You can’t go wrong with her, so, enjoy and read them all!!!

  6. I hadn’t thought about short stories being perfect for audio-books. Just the perfect length, perfect goal for a walk. Might get me hooked on them finally. (As I’m one of those who don’t usually care for the form.)

  7. Tea says:

    I love Elizabeth Berg too. I had forgotten about this title. I bet it’s a fun listen or read. My favorite book by her is Never Change. I haven’t read any of her short stories. I’ll have to get on the ball. I love the fall trees above your house. I noticed those before the hot air balloon. The hot air balloon is pretty too. I enjoy your blog.

  8. stacybuckeye says:

    I love Berg but haven’t tried this one yet. Looks like I need to try the audio.

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