Pandora Halfdanarson’s brother is fat. And he’s coming to stay. And cook.
To what extent is it ethical or desirable for her to intervene in his addiction to food?
And what is the underlying cause of the eating behaviour that is killing him?
This novel is a great read, and very thought-provoking. Especially given that Lionel Shriver’s real brother died from obesity-related heart attack shortly after she wrote this article in the Guardian.
Whisper it quietly, but the medical model of mental health is about to fall. For decades, the medical profession has been in charge of mentally distressed people. They have pigeonholed “patients” with “diagnoses”, stuffed them with drugs, and imprisoned them in secure institutions. For all of this expenditure of money, time, and suffering, outcomes for mentally distressed people are far worse in the first world than the third world. This represents the most astonishing failure on behalf of psychiatry. But the emperor has no clothes, and we may be on the threshold of a paradigm shift in this discipline. This book, published 2013, is the first mainstream textbook to propose an alternative approach. It is a massive and demanding read, but start with Chapter 5 “Diagnosis and Formulation”, and take it from there if you have the stamina. There are great chapters on eating disorders and schizophrenia. The chapters on the history of mental distress are also fascinating. Diagnosis is dead. You heard it here first.