A part of its genius, I feel, is the light-hearted tone of the book which thoroughly belies the seriousness of its subject, and yet somehow never undermines it. While I found myself unable to fully empathise with the characters (as the comic narration creates something of a barrier in this respect) I nevertheless found myself understanding all that they were going through. I was able to engage with the book and the lives of the protagonists on an entirely different level to any I have experienced before, so much so that I can barely account for how Woodward has managed it. I have a small inkling however, that it has something to do with the seamless transition between character viewpoints that pervades the book; from Mrs Head to Tory, Donald and Branson, each character has a wonderfully constructed point of view that allows the reader to see different aspects of the same occurrence. Tory's letters serve as a brilliant example of this; at first Donald's apparently illogical and relentless insistence on Tory writing him a dirty letter tends to grate on the nerves a bit and left me wondering at his blinkered persistence and Tory's equally annoying refusal to try, but as the novel progresses we learn the reasons behind his requests and, for me at least, it serves as a strong reminder that assumptions can be dangerous things.
The other great thing about this book is the perfect title! Perfect because it is interwoven so tightly with the book that I can't seem to make it come unstuck. Addressing not just issues of edible nourishment (as I initially thought) but also issues of sexual and emotional nourishment (without being cheesy); the prose is engaging, witty and whole-hearted, altogether it makes for a fantastic read.
Thoroughly recommended. Signed copies are available from today.