A densely packed and richly empathetic revamping of the dieting world.



A debut guide strives to help women break out of the dieting trap.

How many women have only been on one diet? This is the question with which Clegg, an eating-disorder therapist, opens her fast-paced look at the short- and long-term damage the dieting mentality can inflict on women, whether they’re looking to revitalize their lives or simply lose a few pounds. “Are you ready to go out, change your mind, and change your life?” the author asks. To facilitate this, she identifies 10 “mindsets” that can make dieting a deeply personal pitfall rather than the healthy course of action most women intend it to be. These include “The Deprivation Mindset,” “The Mean Girl Mindset,” and “The Shame-Based Mindset,” all of which tap into potentially unhealthy personal traits as part of their base line motivations. Clegg deftly lays out descriptions of each of these mindsets and the thinking they typify. For instance, “The Bureaucrat Mindset,” which can appeal to rule followers, the author characterizes as “Even though I want to eat this, and it makes sense to eat this, I can’t—because it is not on my diet.” And then there’s the extremely common “ABC Mindset,” which thinks: “If I diet, I can lose weight, and then my life will be perfect.” The author trusts the instincts of her readers to tell them if they’re in the grip of one of these toxic mindsets (“If you have an unhealthy pattern,” she writes with affecting simplicity, “you will recognize it because it makes you feel bad”). As she’s clarifying the difficulties, she’s also offering useful, multifaceted solutions to help her readers “reclaim a peaceful, balanced relationship with food.” At the root of the problem, she writes, is society’s set of body image standards that are patriarchal, unrealistic, and ultimately harmful to women’s physiques, minds, and souls. Clegg’s valuable, lucid book is a call to dig beneath these manipulations, to understand the why of dieting before looking at the how. Every reader who’s ever struggled with dieting or weight issues should find the author’s outlook captivating.

A densely packed and richly empathetic revamping of the dieting world.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2018


Page Count: 144

Publisher: BookLogix

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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