Praise for The Man Who Couldn't Eat

Now published in paperback

The Man Who Couldn't Eat is named a 2011 "Top Pick" by The Los Angeles Times​ and The Chicago Tribune.

The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune

A gifted food writer details his battle with Crohn’s disease.

Winner of the 2010 James Beard Foundation Award for Feature Essay, Reiner expands his gripping article that first appeared in Esquire in 2009. With the spirit and edge of a seasoned sports announcer calling a fight, the author graphically depicts both the cumulative effects of two decades of living at the mercy of chronic illness and the staggering play-by-play of a recent life-threatening episode when his guts literally exploded.

Kirkus Reviews [Starred Review]

"An incredible, inspiring tale."

In this engrossing and candid memoir, James Beard Award–winning writer Reiner tells of his doctor's orders following a diagnosis of a torn intestine: eat nothing. Reiner, who at age 46 had a history of Crohn's disease, gets even more bad news when emergency surgery results in a severely infected abdomen, among other complications, that force him to get his nutrition intravenously.

Publishers Weekly

"As a piece of writing, it's fearless and singular."

This compelling audio edition of Reiner’s fascinating and heart-wrenching memoir features an inspired and intimate performance from narrator Dan John Miller.

Publishers Weekly [Starred Review]

"A conversation readers won’t want to end."

Jon Reiner couldn’t fathom a life without food, until one measly dried apricot caused him to collapse on his kitchen floor, buckled over in pain from a ruptured intestine. Despite a history of Crohn’s disease, Reiner—a self-described “glutton in a greyhound’s body”—didn’t deprive himself until, at 46, he was hooked up to an intravenous drip with an infected abdomen and no choice but to follow his doctor’s orders: don’t eat.

The Daily Beast

"An adroitly rendered meditation on desire, deprivation, and our complicated relationship with food."

It sounds preposterous, but Jon Reiner, the James Beard-winning food writer who penned Esquire's "How Men Eat" series, was once himself unable to eat.

Philadelphia City Paper

"Unlike any food memoir you've ever read."

“In the sensuality of eating, the nose teases and the mouth consummates. The intensity of the dinner’s aroma is playing havoc with my senses, as so many smalls have lately, and I’m transported.”  This quote is used by the author very early in the book to describe how he feels in the kitchen of his own home while unable to eat anything.


"Reiner’s ability to describe a scene or a dish or an event is miraculous."

“Jon Reiner has thrown the door to the mysterious world of chronic illness wide open in The Man Who Couldn't Eat, a memoir of an experience that is as illuminating to read about as it was horrifying to live. This wholly enthralling book will make you appreciate every breath you take—and every bite you eat.”

Terry Teachout

drama critic, The Wall Street Journal and author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong

“I have spent years of my life obsessing about my weight, feeling guilt over every mouthful. Jon Reiner's magnificent and devastating memoir, The Man Who Couldn't Eat, accomplished the impossible. It made me shut up and enjoy my food.”

Ayelet Waldman

author of Red Hook Road

“I will never take eating for granted again. Wow! What a roller coaster. All I kept thinking was, You cannot be serious! But he was.”

John McEnroe

author of You Cannot Be Serious


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