Reading for Sanity

The Man Who Couldn't Eat is Jon Reiner's personal story about returning home from an uneventful grocery shopping trip only to have his stomach explode. As he struggles to heal after a poorly performed surgery, he is put on TPN. He is sent home to spend months living without eating or drinking - absolutely nothing by mouth. His deep surgical wound is left open and covers his gut. The battle to survive takes Jon on an emotional roller-coaster through denial, anger, depression, and finally acceptance. The book chronicles a full year of medical drama, yet it is so much more than the tale of one man's struggle to survive.

Entering this book allows the reader to journey through Jon's past by means of his taste buds. The delicious descriptions of the food of his past are at such odds with the grotesque descriptions of his present medical procedures. It's the ultimate oxymoron, leaving you salivating and yet nauseated in one swoop.

Much admiration goes to Jon's ability to tell it like it is. He does not play the victim, instead fully admits to his selfish behavior. As his family falls apart, he takes his share of the blame and does not sugar-coat any of it. Jon's battle becomes not only one to overcome the illness but to also reclaim his family. 

In the end, this tale is one of balance - the yin and the yang. The continuous balancing act while juggling the needs of a family, the struggles of a career (or lack there of) and the needs of his health crisis is thoroughly documented. Jon's ability to rediscover what is important in life is inspiring. His tale is laced with religion, but it is his ultimate decision to concur that allows him to reclaim his life. There is no glossing over the facts to bring the story to a neat conclusion. Jon continues to struggle to balance his wants with his needs, especially in terms of food. This conflict leads to a stimulating read.

"One man's conquest to discover the yin and yang of life through his stomach."