An anti-diet diet book that offers perhaps too much food for thought.

BIG GIRL

HOW I GAVE UP DIETING AND GOT A LIFE

A hard-core dieter pokes fun at herself and the diet industry while trying to overcome her own food obsessions.

Millions of Americans have grown up with calorie counts in their heads, tried-and-true diet tips at the ready, and meticulous food journals in their pockets. And yet, as a nation, we’re heavier than ever. We know that dieting doesn’t really work in the long run, so how about just not dieting? What would happen then? That’s what Refinery29 blogger Miller attempted and what she chronicles in this wry, sometimes overly confessional memoir. Food is a big deal for the author, as we see in vivid scenes of calculated dips into the pantry chocolate-chip stash as a child and any number of “Final Pig-Outs” as a young adult about to start the next big plan, whether Weight Watchers, Atkins, or the Type O Diet. It may not be that big a deal for readers, though, and it can be tiring to read yet another list of foods consumed. Miller does take a look at some of the deeper reasons behind her compulsive eating, and it’s in these passages that her vulnerability comes through and her story becomes truly compelling. Readers will cheer for Miller to succeed on her “anti-diet” diet of intuitive eating, her quest to eat according to her mindfully mined needs and desires, not according to a rulebook. It takes a lot of work to change a mindset that radically, and it’s slow going for Miller, who tends to trade one obsession for another. Still, by the end of her memoir, it’s clear that she is writing more often about friends, family, and career and focusing less on the food itself. Further material regarding this part of the journey would have made for a more satisfying closure, but as Miller herself notes, it’s more about the process than the product.

An anti-diet diet book that offers perhaps too much food for thought.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4555-3263-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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