5 reviews

Eating Heaven
by Jennie Shortridge

Published: 2005-09-06
Paperback : 304 pages
168 members reading this now
34 clubs reading this now
29 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 5 of 5 members

Nothing gets Eleanor Samuels's heart racing like a double scoop of mocha fudge chunk. Sure, the magazine writer may have some issues aside from food, but she isn't quite ready to face them. Then her beloved Uncle Benny falls ill, and what at first seems scary and daunting becomes a ...

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Nothing gets Eleanor Samuels's heart racing like a double scoop of mocha fudge chunk. Sure, the magazine writer may have some issues aside from food, but she isn't quite ready to face them. Then her beloved Uncle Benny falls ill, and what at first seems scary and daunting becomes a blessing in disguise. Because while she cooks and cares for him-and enjoys a delicious flirtation with a new chef in town-Eleanor begins to uncover some long-buried secrets about her emotionally frayed family and may finally get the chance to become the woman she's always wanted to be.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


Tonight Why not Eat Light?
7 Super-Easy suppers that won't weigh you down!

by Eleanor Samuels

You've picked up little Susie from soccer practice and Tommy's on his way home from the swim meet. Your husband dashes in clutching his briefcase and gym back after his post-work spin class. The last thing you want to do is load up your active family with unwanted fat and calories. How can you make a quick, easy dinner that's also healthy?
... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

No discussion questions at this time.

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Discussion Questions from the Author:

1. The characters in this novel are struggling to learn how to properly care for one another on many different levels. In what ways do they succeed or fail to be nurturing?

2. How does Eleanor’s attitude toward food change throughout the book? What does her inability to vomit signify in her life? Her decrease in appetite?

3. The author does not reveal Eleanor’s actual size. Why do you think she made this decision, and how do you feel about it? What do you imagine Eleanor’s size to be, and how does it differ from or match your group members’ perceptions?

4. Food is described so intimately and beautifully in Eating Heaven, it is almost a character itself. How does the author use food to tell the story? Find passages where food reveals emotions, desires, connections, or conflicts.

5. What spurs Eleanor to see Suzanne Long, the food therapist? Why does she stop seeing her? What does Eleanor learn from Suzanne, and what does she learn on her own?

6. Why does Bebe refuse to see Benny, even when he is dying?

7. What is Bebe referring to when she tells Eleanor on page 199, ‘Benny isn’t quite the angel you think he is?’ How did your perceptions of Bebe and of her relationship with Benny change over the course of the story?

8. What would you do, if you found out that your family had a secret they had kept from you all your life?

9. Eleanor eats when she is stressed or upset. How do Anne and Christine cope with their life-changing problems?

10. What, for Benny, is the most difficult part of his illness?

11. Think about the men in Eleanor’s life—Benny, Stefan, Henry, and the memory of her father. How are these relationships similar? Different? What issues, if any, does she resolve with them by the end of the book, and how?

Book Club Recommendations

I served fruit pizza and a sweet moscato wine.
by cindyb (see profile) 06/26/09
I thought it would be nice to serve something fairly healthy considering the topic of the book!

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "A Joy to Read"by Kris C. (see profile) 11/17/11

A dramatic story about everyday life and the struggles of caring for someone who is dying. A touching story about families, sisters and relationships with a little fun thrown in from food and its role... (read more)

  "Made me hungry for more...."by Johnna H. (see profile) 07/01/09

I love books that go back and forth from present to past to fill you in on important details or backstory. Jennie Shortridge does that here beautifully!

Eleanor Samuels lives in her rent

... (read more)

  "Eating Heaven"by Cara R. (see profile) 06/30/09

I really enjoyed this book even though it did take me the first 30-50 pages to really get into it. At first the main character comes off as a bit negative, but then the real story/plot begins and it is... (read more)

  "A very moving book!"by Cindy B. (see profile) 06/26/09

I couldn't put it down. It started a little slow but as you get into the book you begin to relate to the characters. There were parts that made me cry!

  "Keeps you waiting"by Heather M. (see profile) 07/31/08

The book really keeps you waiting, but does not give you the answers you are looking for. It was ok and I have loaned my book to a friend, but I would rate it a 6 out of 10!

  "A woman with hidden family secrets and who is stuck in a rut."by Courtney F. (see profile) 07/28/08

I liked the book, I liked that there were not a lot of characters to keep track of. A very easy read.

  "Fun, touching and eloquent"by Aleksandra E. (see profile) 06/04/08

This book was surprising in the fact that it grips you right from the start & you are capitivated until the very end. It was well written, insightful and sweet. It has subtle twists and turns and I was... (read more)

  "Family dysfunction and death"by Marion B. (see profile) 12/10/07

I very much enjoyed the story itself and wanted more details about each of the characters. I thought each character could use more rounding. Just my opinion though-

  "Woman looks to find herself through food and a past she does not understand, but becomes pleasently surprised when a loved one's illness and possible death comes knocking at her door."by Marlo M. (see profile) 11/02/07

This was a pleasant, quick read. I felt like I knew Eleanor instantly and could relate to her life quirks. I wanted more from her romance with a local chef, but maybe there will be a part I... (read more)

  "Easy read that keeps you interested"by Maria L. (see profile) 10/09/07

OVerall a good read that makes for fun discussion

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