GOODBYE JUMBO, HELLO CRUEL WORLD by Louie Anderson

GOODBYE JUMBO, HELLO CRUEL WORLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Weightless epiphanies about losing weight from Anderson, professional comedian and bestselling author of Dear Dad (1989). Anderson's earlier surprise hit was low-key but effective as he faced his dead alcoholic father with unmailed letters that relieved his low self-esteem. Dad usually called him ``lard-ass,'' a memory that kept Anderson walled up in food until he joined Adult Children of Alcoholics and entered therapy. The present book focuses largely on Anderson's life before therapy and ACOA, with the prosperous but unhappy young comic having to stand on side-by- side scales to weigh his 360-plus pounds (he suggests at one point that he topped 400). Anderson bemoans the failure of diets to keep his weight off--weight he has lost repeatedly--and determines that his entire family of 11 siblings became dysfunctional (nine of them overweight) not only because of Dad but also because of Mom, who covered over the family pains with food. Anderson was grossly fat when he began school and only got worse. Throughout, he presents us with a laundry list of discoveries about food being a defense against you-name-it. Meanwhile, he feeds a mania for antique furniture that eventually finds him renting three storage cubicles for his excess chairs and a lifetime's gathering of junk. We follow him into a few fat farms and hospitals, give him a half-cheer when he buys a treadmill, and spend some binges with him. His final epiphany is a love-bearing letter-writing campaign to his siblings as he tries to unite them into a happy family. And he sells his antiques and million-dollar home in hopes of uncovering the bare bones of his inmost being. Thin, even surly, vaporings that will sell like buttered hotcakes.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-670-83766-0
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993