Neil D. Isaacs

Jon Reiner, obeying Nabokov's command, has given full voice to his memory in The Man Who Couldn't Eat, the story of his ongoing struggle with chronic Crohn's disease.

Here's the remarkable thing about this narrative: as it chronicles the traumas, travails, and insults of a condition that compromises his entire digestive system (the pain, the surgeries, the hyper-medication, the NPO regimen and the TPN for life support, the vomiting and diarrhea, the weight loss and dehydration, the atrophied taste buds. the strains on the very survival of his sanity and his family). he manages in evoke good feelings rather than TMI. His main weapon in this battle is the ample store of Proustian experiences by which his memory triggers occasions of blissful eating.
Food, not its absence here, is the focus. Reiner presents his family, friends, and passing acquaintances in the context of eating.  A culture, a heritage, a geography of food, takes us from a first pilgrimage to Katz's on the lower East Side to the shrine of Chanterelle in
TriBeca (where he and his wife can only look through the window until such time as they can afford the fare). More, there is the private lore of Thanksgiving, the preparation of everyday meals, and even the food-shopping that are the mise en scene of incident and anecdote. 
But beyond the love of family and food (in whatever order), he offers another treat for the hungry reader. It is his delight in the play of language that brings to life the smorgasbord of his life. This is a four-star memoir.

author of The Great Molinas and The Package And The Baggage