Ken Montville's Reviews > Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Half-Assed by Jennette Fulda
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's review
Apr 04, 12

it was ok
Recommended to Ken by: no one
Recommended for: people with weight issues
Read from March 01 to 09, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

In true memoir style, this book is an idealized, romanticized and, generally, abbreviated story of an epic weight loss. If you're looking for a "how-to" book on losing well over 200 pounds...this is not the book.

I came across this book in one of those random searches through Amazon and thought it looked interesting. After all, what overweight person wouldn't want to know how a young woman lost so much weight? There might be some magic formula tucked inside those pages somewhere. Of course, there is a magic formula: eat less and exercise more. No magic pill, no magic foods, no magic exercise regimen.

Unlike most of us who may be circumferentially challenged, this author didn't have a sad childhood with abusive parents or a family that consistently put food in front of her. To hear Jennette Fulda tell the story, she had a great and supportive family who just happened to eat a lot.

So, what was the incentive to lose over 200 pounds? It might have been the gall bladder operation. Although she says she still sat around for another year. It might have been her brother's weight loss. But, according to the book (and one of the chapter titles) there were no epiphanies. She just got up one day and decided to shed the poundage and, by golly, that's what she did.

She started to lose weight and, eventually, start a blog which, in turn, became a raging success and the big accountability piece she needed to stay on track. Of course, it is also nice that she's a coder and general all around web guru. So, the website that hosted the blog looked pretty, had great graphics and pretty charts and lots of the coding you need to let Google know you're around.

The book is written in the breezy and slightly snarky style of young-ish bloggers (Jeannette Fulda started her weight loss at 24) and it's and easy read. It can be funny in spots and it's worthwhile to know that if she could do it so can you (or me or anyone else).

If you're looking for "thin-spiration" or anything along those lines, this book falls short. The author moves from self awareness to self absorption pretty quickly. She easily congratulates herself and glosses over some of the real struggles fat people face - the office snacks and get togethers, weddings and funerals and church socials as well as the never ending cravings.

To be fair, toward the end of the book, the author acknowledges that she is young and single with no kids and just the 40 hour job to worry about. It's easy to come home and cook the healthy and nutrition meals (she really gets into cooking) and then go out for a run (she really gets into running). No worries about the spouse or the stressful boss or the travel schedule.

After a little over two years, Jeannette Fulda has shed over 200 pounds and looks great, feels great and just loves life. Her weight loss (as illustrated by a chart on was pretty much of a straight diagonal line down. Little bumps here and there but nothing like what most people experience.

The bottom line here is that this story is the exception and not the rule. Like the memoirs of Presidents and celebrities of every stripe she tells a story short on angst and struggle and long on her triumphs and how, once she made up her mind, she was able to pull off the near miraculous.

One final note: this is a book for the ladies. She makes a few short references to her brother's weight loss and to her father's 90 pound drop due to counting calories (Jeannette just follows her body's advice and doesn't count calories or any of that stuff). The bulk of the book is really oriented to young women. After all, it's a "memoir" so it is very female oriented.
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