The Kirkus Review for Crave went live on Monday! It’s extremely exciting to have this glowing review in Kirkus of all places, an outlet that can be notoriously difficult to please. The New Yorker magazine staff writer Nathan Heller wrote that Kirkus is “known for verdicts spread across the publishing world, bringing good books to first attention and helping to sweep aside huge piles of dross.”
I’m so pleased they didn’t put Crave in the “dross” section, and instead gave the book this praise: “Ultimately, this story isn’t just about food; it’s about the mother-daughter bond and how the desire to please one’s parents may never go away. O’Brien ably articulates this challenging relationship all children and parents struggle with, be it through food, favoritism, or failure to love. A book that makes the topic of hunger entirely satisfying.”
I have been gratified, as well, by the pre-release feedback the book has been getting on Goodreads. It’s hard to describe what it feels like to watch something so personal—a book written about the oh-so-specific details of my life—affect others. Of course, it helps that the impact the book is having is a positive one, so it’s especially rewarding to hear how individuals have received my story. People wrote in their Goodreads reviews that they wanted to linger in the story, or that they felt the book followed them even when they weren’t reading. Some said that they couldn’t put it down. These are things that I never could have anticipated—I know the feeling of being unable to stop reading long enough to put a book down, having even carried books from room to room with me after reaching the last page, unable yet to let the story sink into the ocean of my bookshelf—I just never imagined my own book would cause this to happen for others.
In working on Crave, I set out to scrape bone; writing to me seems the only way to excavate the resonance and truth of a moment, the means with which we can burrow into the density of an event or feeling and lay it bare. At times, it feels like following a scent of something you know will bring you pain. As much as I want to move away from the discomfort, the opposite is required: a dive down into the pulsing heart of the situation where there is no light, and you have only your gut to guide you. That others are enjoying this journey I took and want to stay in it to learn what I’ve learned and feel what I feel, whether it’s pleasure or pain, or just the delight of hearing the story itself, is a gift I will never stop being grateful for.