PRESTO! by Penn Jillette


How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales
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The acclaimed, outspoken magician delivers a “book about extreme personal lifestyle changes, written by a…juggler whose only higher education was Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.”

When Jillette (Every Day Is an Atheist Holiday!: More Magical Tales from the Author of God, No!, 2012, etc.) was told by his doctor that he would need stomach sleeve surgery in six months in order to lose 100 pounds (at 320 pounds, his systolic blood pressure was a frightening 220), he took this warning as permission to "go crazy." To avoid surgery, he sought out his friend Ray Cronise, an entrepreneur and former NASA scientist nicknamed “CrayRay,” shortened from "Crazy Ray,” who put him on a 90-day “hard-core cold and hungry diet.” Jillette provides a day-to-day account of his near-starvation diet—nothing but potatoes for the first two weeks!—and risky weight loss. Readers should not expect a well-researched argument against the unhealthy and potentially deadly American diet; the book is mostly filthy, self-deprecating humor from a self-described “idiot” and “fat fuck.” Jillette was a competitor on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, and his description of Trump's peculiar, ridiculous coiffure is one of his funnier lines: “hair that looks like cotton candy made of piss.” As in Penn & Teller's stage act, the author is garrulous, rude, refreshingly honest, and sometimes overbearing. There isn't much drama once he reaches his goal weight—he lost an astonishing 74.5 pounds in only 83 days, which was 24.4 percent of his body weight. What follows are mostly tales of what he ordered in restaurants and ate at parties. In the end, Jillette learned that rather than futilely trying to "catch the vibe of the foods he used to love….it's better to just create new comfort foods."

A sometimes-funny book that should be taken with a tablespoon of salt.

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5011-4018-1
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:


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