Bread: a Memoir of Hunger, published by the University of Missouri Press, 2016, is Lisa Knopp’s sixth book and is an exploration of her conflicted relationship with food from the ages of 15 to 54. As Knopp tells Pat Leach of NPR in an interview for All About Books, this latest book is also about some “pretty big ideas that will resonate with everyone, ideas about hunger and desire and yearning and craving and nourishment and sustenance and fulfillment and contentment.”
Knopp reflects on bouts of restricted eating as a teenager and a young woman and shares with the reader her efforts to address the problem head on when her disordered eating returns once again at age 54. She explains to Leach, “several people left my life at that point which left me feeling sad and empty.” She adds, “I realized that I was an aging woman, and that I really, really hated the story that my culture tells about aging, especially to women, that we’re going to become less powerful, less autonomous, less relevant, and less visible as we grow older. I knew that was a story that I did not want to live.”
I started researching eating disorders, and looking at the connection between aging and genetics and biochemistry and psychology and family and socio-cultural influences and what I concluded was that some of this was beyond my control there is a real genetic and biological basis for eating disorders and yet there was also a lot of factors that were within my control. Like the story I was going to tell myself about what it means to become an aging woman. I had to develop a resistance narrative.” http://netnebraska.org/interactive-multimedia/other/all-about-books-bread-memoir-hunger-lisa-knopp
In an article for Omaha Magazine, Knopp writes, “When I consider how frankly confessional my story is and how controversial some will find my interpretations of the research, I squirm and second-guess myself. But then I remember that I am safer from relapse because I understand what I can and can’t control and because I’m far less likely to forget, as Didion says, “the things [I] thought [I] could never forget.” And, too, I feel full knowing that people are finding self-knowledge, nourishment, hope, and strength in the story that I didn’t want to tell.” http://omahamagazine.com/articles/on-bread/
Knopp is an Associate Professor of English at UNO who specializes in creative nonfiction.