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Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite
Caitlin Ulmer decides to assess her options for the next phase of her life. Her parents would prefer she go steady with her plastic surgeon boyfriend and get a respectable job but when Cait views an event in the World Eating League, starring the world record holder doing the near impossible, she is instantly hooked. She decides to join the sport with the sole intention of using her analytical mind and determination to break the world record. Her parents may be outraged at this decision but with the support of her close friends and a talented young man, Cait prepares to break new boundaries in Pete O'Brien's Eat Like A Girl.
Pete O'Brien's Eat Like A Girl has a successful virologist throw herself wholeheartedly into the world of competitive eating to the surprise of her family and friends as the basis of its storyline. O'Brien's setting just around the early stages of the COVID era gives it a modern feel that is much easier for the reader to relate to. The choice of an academic who uses basic scientific processes to formulate a breakthrough in her plan offers a curious subplot that will doubtless have scientifically inclined readers interested in the direction this novel takes. The part where Ron thoroughly embeds himself within Cait's inner circle and the chaos it creates in an already combustive group had me laughing throughout. The icing on the cake is the way O'Brien uses the conversations between the characters to bring out the true motivations of Cait's friends without digressing from the charged atmosphere of her competitive outings. Eat Like A Girl is an impressive novel. The subplots are well thought out and O'Brien's writing style stays engaging from start to finish. Beautiful work overall.