Reviewed by Claudia R.

“But motivation without support lasts about three days. Then the desire to celebrate kicks in, and once you are off the wagon for one meal, you inevitably decide to bail on the day. One day of decadence and the week seems shot, and the mental decision to “start again on Monday” seems almost logical.”

Melanie Hoffman has done the work, put in the effort, and in the process, regained control of her life, her eating habits and lost half of body weight. She looks great, feels great and in an effort to help others fighting the battle of the bulge, has opened Dining by Design, a take-out ‘deli’ serving up wholesome, healthy, delicious food. Unfortunately, she has also just found out that her husband has been cheating on her for two years and has decided to leave her. For her fat friend, Charlene.

Good Enough to Eat feels like a best friend’s diary. It’s funny, quirky, intimate and painful. There are moments of triumph and moments of despair, and Stacey Ballis writes with such introspection and ease, that you feel Melanie’s journey in your own skin. Peppered with mouth watering food descriptions, my only advice would be to never read Good Enough to Eat hungry!

Melanie’s journey takes us through her divorce, and the trials of finding herself again, mourning mentally for the loss of her marriage while attempting to sustain herself financially. With the aid of her sister, her nutritionist, employees, Kai, her hilarious, wisecracking gay friend, Delia, and many others, Melanie finds out that life on her own can be challenging, but with patience, and hard work, magical & rewarding.

When she meets Nathan, and falls in love again, the reader assumes a Cinderella ending is impending. Stacey, however, directs Melanie on another journey, filled with more life lessons, and deftly reminds us that life is also a series of battles, some to be won, some to be lost.

[amazonify]0425229637[/amazonify]At times, Good Enough to Eat was a little lengthy on the deep personal conversations between characters. While the advice proffered by Melanie’s motley crue of friends is sage and worth heeding, the diatribe often felt preachy or pat. We should all be so lucky to have such meaningful dialog with our companions in life, but when everyone in your life starts sounding like Yoda, so zen-like in their wisdom capabilities, it feels a bit too contrived to be anything but fake.

Aside from that, I found the book a guilty pleasure type read, a great rainy day indulgence. Even the recipes Stacey provides at the end of the book sound delicious enough to warrant a go. Feel good, fun and filled with great food ideas, Good Enough to Eat delivered a sassy, clever tale of life’s lessons and how the magic it contains, rests completely in our wand wielding abilities, and not just fate.

Claudia lives on Cape Cod with her husband and two children. She entertains her passion for reading in between being a full-time Mom, aspiring writer, avid photographer & volunteer for Missie’s Closet, an emergency food & necessities pantry for the low-income in her area.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Berkley Trade. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.