“Eating Life” by Beth Burnett— Running

Burnett, Beth. “Eating Life”, Sapphire Books, 2017.


Amos Lassen

Beth Burnett’s “Eating Life” is a novel about a group of friends who come to depend upon each other to be happy. We meet Casey Wilde who has spent her life running from everything it seems. She wants no responsibilities and enjoys living with no ties. Her best friend Megan Woodson, is her complete opposite and spends her life with the security of a long-term partner and a well-paying, respected job the best ad agency in Memphis. Then there is Ben Stagg who has lost everything and really has no will to live. Brilliant Wilson is a photographer who seems to be always involved with women who do not have the capacity to love her. And then there is Anna. Eventually these characters have to face hard choices and each character has an influence on the others.

There is a lot of humor in the novel but there is also a lot of heartbreak and I believe that comes from our caring about the characters. This is the art of writer Burnett who has carefully created these people. We are pulled into their lives early on and we soon realize that we care about them especially when they are in conflict with one another. It is Casey who stands out above the others. Her friendship with Megan is solid even though they have different lifestyles. Megan’s life is settles even though she her relationship with her partner Anna has problems as all relationships do and she finds happiness in her friendship with Casey and I believe she enjoys the struggles with Anna dealing with an aging parent. Casey loves life and seems to have a positive attitude about everything. It is through her eyes that we see the reality of life.

Using food as a metaphor for life (“Eating Life”), Burnett looks at tasting life in all of its aspects and then choosing what we feel capable of dealing with. I have deliberately stayed vague about some of the plot and characters because I do not want to ruin your appetite before you sit down to this literary feast of good writing and unforgettable characters.

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