A memoir by a fitness and lifestyle journalist who “for years…treated my body like a project on my to-do list.”
In her second memoir, Miller (Coming Clean, 2013) focuses on her intense dedication to making herself as svelte as possible. As she admits, she has struggled with a diet addiction and an extreme devotion to counting calories. In this chatty and frank narrative, she chronicles her ups and down, starting with her experiment at age 4 with the Inuit diet that she learned about from Sesame Street. Since then, Miller’s avocation has become her vocation, and her research has exposed her to anthropological studies, 19th-century works on diet and health, and journals on personality and eating disorders. As an insider in the diet science industry, the author was well-aware of the dangers of dieting, but she pursued it anyway. Her job writing health blogs allowed her to be open about her obsession with dieting, which is on full display in this book. She chronicles her desperate attempts to shed pounds before her wedding to a man who worked as a personal trainer, and she shares her anguish when her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. In the final chapter, it seems that Miller has come to accept her body and is no longer seeking to be impossibly thin, perhaps providing a message for female readers who may also struggle with issues regarding body image. What makes this memoir different from other accounts by women struggling with their weight is that the author knows the science behind it, and woven into the personal story are bits of historical information about changing images of the ideal female form, statistics, and biological and medical facts. Some of this information is helpful, but readers may eventually tire of the author’s fervid focus on what she sees in the mirror.
Mildly entertaining chick lit with a dash of scholarship to season the obsessiveness.