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Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  607 ratings  ·  137 reviews
For fans of "The Happiness Project" and "The Year of Living Biblically" comes a pointed look at our fascination with celebrities, as one woman strives to remake herself in the image of her favorite stars.
What woman hasn't seen pictures of Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, or Beyonce and wished she had their clothes, their abs, their seemingly flawless lives? For Rachel
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.19  · 
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Julie Ehlers
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
1. I tried to read Rachel Bertsche's first book, MWF Seeks BFF, and gave up halfway through. Not because the book was terrible, exactly, but because it was so repetitive. I knew the second half of the book would just be more of what I read in the first half, so why bother?

2. When I saw there was a First Reads giveaway for Bertsche's second book, I almost didn't enter, but the subject matter interested me somewhat, so I decided to take a chance. "Besides," I thought, "I'm most likely not going t
Jul 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Awful, Dreadful, and Insipid: How I Can Write a Book Without Saying a Thing.

Heard about this book on GMA a couple weeks ago and thought it would be another 'Julie & Julia'. Couldn't wait to get to B&N to pick it up and sit down with a glass of wine and be entertained for a couple hours. Wow, it just wasn't even close to J&J and it wasn't even close to being entertaining.

In every bleeding chapter, she discusses her inability to get pregnant. From her husband's low sperm count, to IVF, to IUI, and
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I wasn't sure what to expect with Rachel Bertsche's book, but I liked what I found! While the focus on celebrity lifestyles seems a little juvenile in the summary, I found that her conclusions really resonated with me - that we focus on celebrities because there is some element of their lifestyle or persona that we want in our own lives - be that fitness, style, career or relationships - and the key is not to envy them, but to try and enhance that element in our own lives.She ties these thoughts ...more
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reading copy.

I knew this would be fairly fluffy, but it had a good sense of humor about the author's goal and came to some smart conclusions. I'm a total sucker for "using my life as an experiment" books, and I liked that this one explores how celebrity influences American women's mental well-being. I was kind of annoyed about the baby subplot since that's so not an interest of mine right now, but I thought she ultimately tied it in well by saying that maki
Leigh Kramer
Dec 18, 2019 marked it as dnf
DNF p. 20

I loved Bertsche's first memoir MWF Seeks BFF but I can already tell this, at 5 years out from publication, is too outdated for me to enjoy. She's going to aspire to Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck's marriage in one chapter and well, we all know how that turned out. Plus, the majority of her celebrity role models are white, which is an oversight.
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
"Jennifer, Gwyneth, and Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time": authored by popular journalist/editor (Oprah Magazine) Rachel Bertsche, is a highly entertaining and charming celebrity genre themed book.

In NYC, (2006) Bertsche spotted Aniston before her guest appearance on "The Late Show". Celebrity sightings are unforgettable highlights in the lives of ordinary people. Many fans follow/blog about celebrity culture available on media newsfeeds 24 hours a day. Twitter makes the cel
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking when I entered the giveaway since:

1. I dislike fake memoirs (where the person thinks of a hook for the year to write about). It's too artificial for me; and

2. I don't really follow any celebrity's and have never really aspired to have their lifestyle.

But, I enjoyed this more then I thought I would and I thought that the author ended up with a really healthy attitude about just accepting who she is.

When the boo
Beth Gordon
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed her first book, which was about finding new girlfriends through going on "friend dates" with females. You sensed the frenetic pace of these dates, and it was hard to phone in a date a week.

This one has a forehead-scrunching premise to begin with combined with a bait and switch combined with phoning it in.

Rachel has mad baby fever and a new work-from-home gig (writing), so she likely sold this book based on the concept that she is going to devote a month to being a different celebrity
Carmen Liffengren
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Honestly, at first, I thought this sounded like the most ridiculous premise ever. Rachel Bertsche wonders if she just attempts to imitate some of her favorite successful celebrities that she might just become a better version of herself. She's inspired by a handful of celebrities and she chooses Jennifer Aniston (for her perfectly toned body), Gwyneth Paltrow (for her uber-healthy cooking), Sarah Jessica Parker (for her style), Tina Fey (for her incredible work ethic),Jennifer Garner (for her so ...more
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
The premise of this book, to imitate the lifestyle of a specific celebrity each month, is intriguing, for sure. We all know that celebrities use extreme self discipline to subsist solely on kale and salmon (or hot water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper if you're Beyonce preparing for DreamGirls). They workout for five hours a day because they can, unlike those of us holding down 9 to 5 jobs. They have unlimited wardrobe choices and a household staff to take care of the grunt work. Th ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
The book began by recounting a scene from Friends which I remembered in great detail myself, right down to the color and design of the dress Jennifer Anniston was wearing. Maybe the fact that I could recount the exact same scene and outfit from the top of my head the same way the author can is the reason that I felt connected to her, and almost like I knew her in real life. Just as when I read Bertsche's first book, I felt like I knew her personally and I wanted her to be my friend. That's part ...more
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs
2.5 Stars

I picked up this book because I read and enjoyed the author's previous memoir, MWF Seeking BFF. Admittedly, I don't follow celebrities, so I probably wasn't the exact target audience for the book. However, I really enjoy reading books about people doing a project for a year and writing about it. If you dislike manufactured memoirs, this isn't a book for you.

The initial concepts in the books were fun and relatable. Rachel attempted to improve the various aspects of her life - from excerc
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios, non-fiction
Guilty as charged...I now subscribe to Goop...

ARC for review.

Love US Weekly and In Style? If you do you'll probably like this book. Well, even if you don't, you probably know more about the celebrities covered in this book than you think you do....or at least that was my experience. In a fun entry in the "I'm going to do something for six months or a year and chronicle it" catalog Rachel Bertsche (author of a book I haven't read but remember hearing about MWF Seeking BFF) decides to jump start her life by mirroring different aspects of cele
Monica Lee
Aug 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Manufactured memoirs are suspect, but sometimes they deliver.

A “real” memoir develops organically, when an earth-shattering event occurs, and the author survives to tell the story, how she coped and what she learned. Think I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala or, yes, The Percussionist’s Wife by none other than yours truly. No one chooses prejudice, a tsunami or a sex-offending spouse, but stories of such terrible circumstances make for good drama.

A manufa
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure, I do know the author, but I haven't talked to her in years. I'm not a huge fan of faux-memoirs (as I call this genre). I'm also never been a part of the celebrity culture. But, I like Rachel and she is an excellent writer, so I gave it a go. (I was also in the middle of a really technical book, so I needed a break.)

This was a fun and honest book. Rachel writes well. One of my many takeaways was that I must read Bossypants by Tina Fey. I've started reading it now and I think ther
Ricki Ward
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time by Rachel Bertsche is a very engaging, entertaining memoir of one woman's attempt to model her life after a select handful of celebrities. The author chooses to diet and exercise like Jennifer Aniston, cook like Gwyneth Paltrow, dress like Sarah Jessica Parker, work like Tina Fey, meditate like Julia Roberts, nurture a supportive, healthy marriage like Jennifer Garner, enjoy pregnancy like Jessica Alba, and be the queen of ...more
I'm not super celebrity-obsessed (although my husband might disagree). I used to subscribe to Us Weekly and People. I used to find celebrity life entertaining enough to subscribe, but now that time is very finite, I'm not as keen as before. Bertsche definitely writes for the former me. There were parts where I am rolling my eyes when she mentions Jennifer Aniston's killer legs (there are better legs) or Sarah Jessica Parker's fabulous style (don't agree). It's a super easy read that can be taken ...more
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really hate gimmicky memoirs, so I should have known better, but I'm a sucker for celebrity stuff...this was a totally inane read. She basically just did the Happiness Project under the guise of celebrities, and I hated all the research she threw in. The only redeeming factor of this book was reading about her struggle to get pregnant. Skip this one. ...more
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Vapid. Not just fluffy, but Fluffy Lite. Yuck.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Jen & Gwyn and thought this was a fun read.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. She’s an enjoyable writer to read, and the premise is interesting as who hasn’t compared themselves to celebrities to deleterious effect? It seemed to me like she went pretty all in on the first two chapters on working out like Jennifer Aniston and cooking like Gwyneth. Even dressing like SJP was given it’s due. After that, though, it felt like the book morphed into a memoir about wanting to have a baby amidst fertility issues, with the celebrity stuff in there because it has to be. T ...more
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
This author previously wrote a great memoir I really liked about finding friends in your 30s when you are married without kids.

This book is sort of a stunt book as the author attempts to follow the dictates of various famous people for a month at at time. She is seeking Jennifer Aniston's body, Gwyneth's kitchen, Jennifer Garner's marriage (clearly the book is old) and Tina Fey's work ethic. The second plot line is her difficulty getting pregnant, which may be what made following the dictates of
Meredith Boster
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was not my favorite. After reading some positive and some negative reviews, I have decided to not really form a bias about it. Yes, she does mention her struggles with infertility a lot, and yes she does complain a little bit too much for my liking, but this was overall a good read. This was a "girl power" "motivation" "pursue what you want" kind of book. I thought that this book was, in a word, mediocre. Overall a good read, but I probably won't read again. ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
I usually enjoy this type of book where the author takes on a yearlong project. And while Ms. Bertsche, sort of took on a project, she really didn't. She picked a few celebrities she admired and sort of compared her life to theirs. Julia Roberts seems calm. She must meditate. I will meditate. Tina Fey is a successful businesswoman. She must work hard. I will work hard. This book became very repetitive and boring.
Jennifer Daniel
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun project piece that probably only needed to be a magazine article and not an entire book. I chose this because a reviewer compared it to The Year of Living Biblically and while Rachel is a talented author she is no A.J. Jacobs. It also did not help that most of the celebs she picked were on my most hated list.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
Did not grab my attention like I thought it would. The author embarks on a quest to emulate celebrities while sticking with a budget but it turned out to be more of a complaint on that she can't get pregnant. ...more
Shelby Lynne
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I'd be lying if I said I read this for any reason other than the Julia Roberts chapter. ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Some chapters were more fun to read then others based on celebrity discussed.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: life-changes
On the weaker side of self-help memoirs.
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Rachel Bertsche is the author of The Kids Are in Bed: Finding Time for Yourself in the Chaos of Parenting, MWF Seeking BFF, and Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me. A former editor at O, The Oprah Magazine, her work has appeared in Marie Claire, More, Teen Vogue, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Fitness, Women’s Health, New York,, and more. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.

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“Working on improving myself might feel as good as actually being that improved version.” 0 likes
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