In a nutshell: Diets don't work, obesity is not the killer the media makes it out to be, you have a predisposed weight range due to genetics and can'tIn a nutshell: Diets don't work, obesity is not the killer the media makes it out to be, you have a predisposed weight range due to genetics and can't fight it anyway, so eat healthily (but don't call healthy food healthy, because it makes it less appetizing) in order to maintain good health, but don't worry too much about the number on your scale.
The good: I enjoyed hearing about some of the research they've conducted (probably the most interesting parts of the book for me), and while this isn't a diet book (the author plainly states that diets don't work and do more harm than good, so don't do them), it does have some tips and tricks to help one eat better, although there are other books that go into further detail, like Slim By Design. I also think the segment covering fat-shaming and how damaging it is is quite good and honestly should be something taught to children in schools. (Not necessarily from this book, but the psychology of it in general).
The Hmmm...: I still can't entirely buy the "you can't fight genetics" mentality, though. Even with the tests and research done on twins separated at birth/from their biological parents, I doubt that can be the whole picture. It doesn't explain why there are so many large people *specifically* in the USA. Were all our ancestors immigrants with large genes? But even here, people were generally not as obese just a few generations ago. Did they become obese as food quality became poorer here, even if they themselves came from a leaner gene line, and is it specifically because of them that their offspring will likely be similar in build? The book doesn't say. It doesn't cover immediate families where two siblings may have vastly different builds (which doesn't make sense if genes are more important than environment, as they tried to prove with the twins studies.) It also doesn't mention anything about other cultures who eat a lot better than us Americans and where the people in general have leaner builds, or how they may have begun to get larger as our fast food chains have wormed their way into these countries (if these people are predisposed to being lean, and genetics mean more than environment, why are more people now gaining excess weight in these countries?) None of this is covered.
The book also says how obesity is not as wildly dangerous as it is touted to be, and that in fact many larger people live just as healthy (and long) lives as others skinnier than they, and I can believe this in certain circumstances and to a point. Someone who is skinny is not necessarily healthy. At all. However, the book seems to make you want to think that there are *zero* health problems with obesity....then almost casually tosses out the fact that excessive abdominal fat is indeed very harmful, especially in apple-shaped bodies. It then covers this topic for maybe a page or two, then never goes back to it. It had me wondering "Well, what exactly do you *mean* by 'obesity', then?" Specifically your weight and BMI number (which the author admits early into the book isn't even a good measurement of health)? It isn't made particularly clear, and some with a lot of abdominal fat (like yours truly) is still going to think of themselves as very obese if we can feel this gut of ours, regardless of whether the scale says we're at a healthy weight.
There are other points made in this "controversial" book that I'm not entirely willing to just swallow, although I fully admit I may be having a hard time divorcing myself from the mentality a lifetime of media telling me I'm fat and need to diet to be healthy has given me, and that is why I'm not willing to accept this book that easily. While I'm willing to believe a lot of the information given here, especially on studies about the effectiveness of diets and the harmfulness of obesity (I'm fat, yet I'm pretty sure I'm more healthy than some of my skinny coworkers who eat terribly), as I have no doubts whatsoever that the companies that create diet plans and diet foods skew the findings to make them sound favorable, I just don't think the book makes a strong enough case for everything that it is claiming. Either an updated version or sequel with further research is required for me, until then, I just don't think I can completely believe that many of the diet books (the realistic ones; no one should ever believe in the fad diets) I've listened to are so devoid of good advice....more
The mystery was average and, like others have said, there are a whole lot of coincidences in the book, but I didn't have as many issues with the storyThe mystery was average and, like others have said, there are a whole lot of coincidences in the book, but I didn't have as many issues with the story as other did. Someone else mentioned that they found the main character to be constantly whiny, but to me her voice came off as more wry than anything, which is ultimately why I was able to keep with it to the end: the narrator has an engaging sort of sarcasm all throughout....more
**spoiler alert** I like the basic premise, though(view spoiler)[the fact that the two leads are apparently *actually* going back in time is a little**spoiler alert** I like the basic premise, though(view spoiler)[the fact that the two leads are apparently *actually* going back in time is a little too much; simply having a magic that allows them to shrink down is really more than enough and could have been expanded greatly upon. Throwing time-travel into the mix on top of things without properly explaining the magic, or even really attempting to (series and future releases with more information forthcoming or not) feels a little too have-cake-and-eat-tooish at this stage. (hide spoiler)]
Also I never got much of a distinct feel for Jack and Ruthie. Various actions by either of them contradict each other here and there and are even occasionally commented on, though nothing is then done to explain the erratic behavior. Ruthie appears to be a part of the whole Part of Your World/There Must Be More to This Provincial Life School of Thought but rarely takes it to its full potential (why she even thinks this is never really made clear, other than perhaps her apartment only having one bathroom? Maybe I'm just too old to understand 11 year old ennui anymore) while Jack seems to come off as an easy-going free spirit with little regard to how others perceive him, except when he is completely not, largely for...reasons.
Beyond that, the writing is, as others have mentioned, often quite dull and passive and telly-not-showy. The dialog is similarly tepid. All around meh-to-okay, though I do think the basic premise is entertaining enough that I plan on at least checking out the second volume....more
3.5 stars. One of the better stories with an environmental moral to it, as most others that I've read end up taking you out of the story when the soap3.5 stars. One of the better stories with an environmental moral to it, as most others that I've read end up taking you out of the story when the soapboxing becomes too heavy-handed....more
3.25 stars. Pretty fun, though perhaps in trying to capture a fairy-tale archetypal feel for the characters, some of them feel a little too shallow fo3.25 stars. Pretty fun, though perhaps in trying to capture a fairy-tale archetypal feel for the characters, some of them feel a little too shallow for a novel....more
1.75 stars. This volume actually had a lot of interesting ideas that I enjoyed; unfortunately it took far too long to get to them (the latter half of1.75 stars. This volume actually had a lot of interesting ideas that I enjoyed; unfortunately it took far too long to get to them (the latter half of the book), and I've thought this in prior books, but I would enjoy the series a lot more without Jenna. I really don't like royalty who say they don't like being royalty and being treated like royalty, then they go and be the bossiest, most superior being ever when the situation benefits them to do so, and none of the other characters point out that this is hypocritical....more