Capital Region Living Magazine

A Memoir by Jon Reiner is a disturbing, horrific and appetite-suppressing chronicle of his Crohn’s disease and the resultant torn intestine which leads to him getting all of his nutrition intravenously. Until Crohn’s disease interfered, Jon Reiner had been an enthusiastic eater; his passion for all kinds of food is clear in the flashbacks in which he lovingly describes his favorite meals and his family’s jaunts to Manhattan delis to purchase just the right kind of smoked meat and the perfect blintzes when he was a child.

Reiner’s food writing is mouth-wateringly delicious, which makes his switches back to his medical problems and his nothing-but-mouth/total-parenteral-nutrition (all nutrients through a tube in the arm) all the more jarring. The medical writing is just as evocative as the food writing, but the effect is diametrically opposed—do not read these sections while eating! Mealtimes, food and associated rituals are an integral part of family life, and Reiner’s disease had a devastating effect on his two young sons and his marriage, as well as sending him into a (well-deserved) tailspin of self-pity.

While some passages make for difficult reading, the author’s hellish journey from the skeletal depths of despair back to health and real food is a compelling story that will appeal to anyone who enjoys tales of human triumph over adversity. After reading this, you will think twice before complaining about your food issues, whatever they may be—few have it worse than Jon Reiner did.

"Reiner's food writing is mouth-wateringly delicious. A compelling story of triumph over adversity."