Really pleased to have the author Anita Cassidy on my blog today with the titles of five books that inspired her book Appetite
Food and Sex: two appetites the modern world stimulates, but also the ones we are expected to keep under control. But what happens when we don’t?
Embarking on an affair, lonely wife and mother Naomi blossoms sexually in a false spring while David, the fattest boy at the local comprehensive and best friend of her son, struggles to overcome bullying and the apathy of his divorced mother.
David finally starts to learn about the mechanisms of appetite through a science project set by his intelligent but jaded teacher, Matthew. David’s brave efforts to change himself open Matthew’s eyes to his activist girlfriend’s dangerous plans to blow up VitSip, a local energy-drink company where Naomi works.
At the mercy of their appetites, this exciting debut novel shows that some hungers can never be satisfied…
Over to Anita
I love to read and, even though I only started to write fiction in 2012, I was always a big reader. Lots of books inspired me to write Appetite but here are the top five.
The Corrections – Jonathan Franzen
This is one of my favourite books and whilst I know Franzen himself comes in for a lot of criticism it is, for me, a beautiful portrayal of a family and the challenges of growing up and taking responsibility. He touches on themes that I also like to write about: sexuality, addiction as well as the difficulty of acting well in a world that wants to infantilise us. Having read it at least three or four times, the structure and the weaving together of the related characters definitely inspired my decision to write Appetite from three points of view.
IT – Stephen King
Pretty much all I read as a teenager was King. I loved his writing and his personal story of battling with alcohol and addiction as well as learning to trust himself as a writer is one that definitely resonates with me. IT is a story of a monster that terrorises a ton every 21 years but it is also about intergenerational trauma, childhood, the challenges of growing up and the value of friendship.
Fat Chance – Robert Lustig
The idea of writing about an overweight boy had been with me since 2013 but it was in 2014 that I read Lustig and he changed everything. I had not understood the complex biological issue behind weight gain and obesity before and he explains them so simply and clearly that I read and re-read his work. He is an inspiring talker too and this is why David gets so much from watching him online. I also share Lustig’s despair at the way in which policy makers pander to Big Food and see junk food as a palliative for the disadvantaged. Change needs to happen but only we can make it.
What Women Want – Daniel Bergner
I love Daniel Berger for saying so eloquently what no one wants to hear: women are sexual, women have desires and needs that operate outside of the need for intimacy and closeness. Most women are socialised to be out of tune with their bodies to the extent that some are even unaware that their body is reacting when they are stimulated. The mind and body disconnect is so strong and so powerfully reinforced at a personal and social level. He offers rigorous science and evidence as well as ending with a clear statement that fully allowing women to be the type of sexual beings they wish to be will benefit everyone.
Big Brother – Lionel Shriver
Lionel Shriver inspires me a writer and as a woman. She is so committed to developing her writing and her voice as well as brave in that she chooses difficult and “unlikeable” subjects and characters. Big Brother resonates as it is also about weight but all of her work inspired me. She pushes herself with every book and I am doing the same as I write my second. I am hoping to, one day, be as fearless and articulate a writer and a woman as she is.
About The Author (in her own words)
I am a writer, a relationship radical, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend. I am also a lover of old books, new music and (mostly) clean food. Whilst I understand the limitations of labels, I do identify as bi-sexual, polyamorous, kinky. Above all else, I am curious about everything: about life, about learning and about love.
I have been writing fiction and non-fiction since discovering National Novel Writing Month in 2012. Before that I was a sales manager and trainer in the world of regional press and recruitment advertising. I have two wonderful children and divide my time between London and Kent.