The Fruit Cure: The Story of Extreme Wellness Turned Sour (Hardcover)

The Fruit Cure: The Story of Extreme Wellness Turned Sour By Jacqueline Alnes Cover Image
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"lucid and elegant" — The Washington Post

"A deeply compelling read ... Spellbinding ...." — BookPage

"Her journey from desperation to self-acceptance is moving and well rendered. In the crowded medical memoir field, this stands out." — Publishers Weekly

A powerful critique of the failures in our healthcare system and an inquiry into the sinister strains of wellness culture that prey on people’s vulnerabilities through schemes, scams, and diets.

Jacqueline Alnes was a Division One runner during her freshman year of college, but her season was cut short by a series of inexplicable neurological symptoms. What started with a cough, escalated to Alnes collapsing on the track and experiencing months of unremembered episodes that stole her ability to walk and speak. 

Two years after quitting the team to heal, Alnes’s symptoms returned with a severity that left her using a wheelchair for a period of months. She was admitted to an epilepsy center but doctors could not figure out the root cause of her symptoms. Desperate for answers, she turned to an online community centered around a strict, all-fruit diet which its adherents claimed could cure conditions like depression, eating disorders, addiction, anxiety, and vision problems. Alnes wasn’t alone. From all over the world, people in pain, doubted or dismissed by medical authorities, or seeking a miracle diet that would relieve them of white, Western expectations placed on their figures, turned to fruit in hopes of releasing themselves from the perceived failings of their bodies.

In The Fruit Cure, Jacqueline Alnes takes readers on a spellbinding and unforgettable journey through the world of fruitarianism, interweaving her own powerful narrative with the popularity and problematic history of fruit-based, raw food lifestyles. For readers plagued by mysterious symptoms, inundated by messages from media about how to attain “the perfect body,” or caught in the grips of a fast-paced culture of capitalism, The Fruit Cure offers a powerful critique of the failures of our healthcare system and an inquiry into the sinister strains of wellness culture that prey on people’s vulnerabilities through schemes, scams, and diets masquerading as hope.

About the Author


Jacqueline Alnes is a writer, runner, and assistant professor of creative writing. Her work has appeared in publications like The New York Times, Guernica, Jezebel, Iron Horse Literary Review, Longreads, Ploughshares, Tin House, Electric Literature and The Boston Globe. She has a PhD in creative writing from Oklahoma State University and an MFA in nonfiction from Portland State University. She teaches at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

Praise For…


A BookPage Top Ten Books of January 2024
A SheReads Most Anticipated Memoir of 2024
An InsideHook 10 Books You Should Be Reading in January

"an engaging story" - The Wall Street Journal

"lucid and elegant" - The Washington Post

"A deeply compelling read ... Spellbinding ...." - BookPage

"Alnes’s interweaving of personal experience, diligent reporting and wide-ranging cultural history make The Fruit Cure an engaging, clear-eyed, often vulnerable read that goes a long way to make sense of why so many of us seem to find the simple act of eating so fraught." - New Scientist

"Her journey from desperation to self-acceptance is moving and well rendered. In the crowded medical memoir field, this stands out." -- Publishers Weekly

"Like an episode of Maintenance Phase meets the essay collection The Empathy Exams, The Fruit Cure brings both rigorous reporting and fearless self-examination to bear on questions far beyond health, athletics, wellness, and food. What Alnes is interested in here is nothing less than the mysterious relationship between our thinking minds and our physical selves and the essential joyful horror that is having a human body." - Emma Copley Eisenberg, author of The Third Rainbow Girl

"The Fruit Cure is an eye-opening, at turns heartbreaking, and long overdue reckoning of wellness culture—the scammy cures, miracle diets, and broken systems that operate like an elaborate MLM scheme, ensnaring people in an endless pursuit of promised cures. Part memoir, part cultural critique, Alnes takes us on a relatable journey through the world of fruitarianism and introduces us to a cast of complicated characters behind the raw food lifestyle. It’s a fantastic look at wellness and diet culture and the influencer economy, all done with nuance, humor, and empathy." - Christine Yu, author of Up To Speed

"Weaving a deeply vulnerable personal narrative into a larger historical story of dieting, harmful pseudoscience, and trendy health fads, Alnes connects our current societal obsession with control to a long history of the constant betrayal of people’s simple desire to get better. I have never been more compelled by a book, and I have never felt more moved by the offering of a self — honest, tender, and vulnerable — that Alnes presents."—Devin Kelly, author of In This Quiet Church of Night, I Say Amen and Blood on Blood.

"The Fruit Cure presents a type of human trajectory we don’t consider enough: how we took the emerging cultural possibility of being selective about how we eat, and how we might manage our well-being through diet, and turned it back into an unhealthy and extreme practice. Alnes’s book is an eye-opening journey into how isolating the pursuit of health can be when our society does not keep an open mind and inclusive practice that prioritizes care, and the dangers that come with the push toward individualism." Casey Johnston, editor, She’s A Beast Newsletter and author, Liftoff: Couch to Barbell


Product Details
ISBN: 9781685890759
ISBN-10: 168589075X
Publisher: Melville House
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English