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

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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 Bertsche, these celebrities are the epitome of perfection--self-assured and effortlessly cool. Yet lately, between juggling her career, her marriage, and her dream of becoming a mother, Bertsche feels anything but put together.
In "Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me, " Bertsche embarks on a quest to emulate her Hollywood role models--while sticking to a budget--to see if they really hold the keys to happiness. While trying to unlock the stars' secrets, from Sarah Jessica Parker's wardrobe to Julia Roberts's sense of calm to--maybe one day--Jessica Alba's chic pregnancy, Bertsche learns valuable lessons. A toned body doesn't come easy or cheap, avoiding social media can do wonders for your peace of mind, and confidence is the key accessory for pulling off any outfit. But can she immerse herself in the A-list lifestyle and still stay true to herself? And will her pursuit of perfection really lead to happiness?
Praise for Rachel Bertsche's "MWF Seeking BFF"
"Written with verve, insight, and humor . . . Bertsche writes cleverly, but not glibly, about the challenges young women face today."--"Chicago Tribune"
"[A] charming, funny chronicle."--"People"

256 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2014

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About the author

Rachel Bertsche

6 books224 followers
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, CNN.com, and more. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 138 reviews
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,111 reviews1,397 followers
July 21, 2014
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 to win anyway."

3. I won this book via a First Reads giveaway here on Goodreads.

4. The first half of the book was entertaining enough, kind of like a series of self-aware women's magazine articles. I've got nothing against women's magazine articles, so that was fine.

5. However, as the book goes along, it becomes increasingly about Bertsche's overwhelming desire to have a baby and her struggles with infertility. This is not mentioned on the back cover or in any of the publicity materials for the book, probably because the marketing department realized the audience for a lighthearted book about adopting celebrities' self-improvement habits and the audience for a book about infertility are not the same.

6. The marketing department is right about that.

7. On the other hand, the marketing department letter I received along with this book referred to it as a "novel," so it's possible no one in marketing has actually read this book.

8. Bertsche is pretty slavish about following Jennifer Aniston's workout routines and Gwyneth Paltrow's cooking/eating habits, but when she gets to "serenity," as embodied by Julia Roberts (whatever), she starts to half-ass it. She's supposed to be meditating but doesn't really bother to learn what it is or the best way to do it. Given that inner peace is probably more helpful and important than any of the other celeb lessons she tries to learn, this was annoying.

9. Other things Bertsche doesn't bother to learn the real definition of: zen; eating mindfully.

10. What she does do: Spend an insane amount of time on the internet looking at stuff about celebrities.

11. One thing I liked about this book: Bertsche tries to focus on becoming a better version of herself. I think this is something we should all be trying to do, so I was on board with that idea.

12. In case it's not clear, I wasn't on board with all the infertility stuff. I can't quite figure out why I should be interested in the fertility problems of someone I don't know at all, and she certainly didn't have anything new to add to the conversation.

13. Bertsche's life actually seems quite privileged, so, like Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, this was really just a stunt memoir--except the writing was worse and the level of insight much lower.

14. If you're trying to decide between the two Rachel Bertsche books, this one is the better bet.

15. But you should probably just read something else entirely.
Profile Image for Cooper.
517 reviews10 followers
July 13, 2014
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 on and on until she tells you she's finally pregnant....it was like reading someones incredibly boring diary.

Snooze fest! If this was the author's pursuit of happiness, I wished she'd kept it to herself.
Profile Image for Sara.
442 reviews13 followers
June 11, 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 in with her own life story, which changes dramatically throughout the writing of the book. Maybe we'll never be a star, but we can learn something about ourselves from them and use that to improve our own lives.
Profile Image for Ann.
957 reviews63 followers
July 3, 2014
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 making her life more structured and disciplined prepared her to handle the chaos of having a newborn. It made me think about a lot of things that I let slip because they "take too much time", but that they may ultimately help me feel more at peace.
Profile Image for Leigh Kramer.
Author 1 book1,182 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
December 18, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Michelle.
590 reviews158 followers
July 6, 2014
"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 celebrities seem more accessible publically; and as long as the fans/fame junkies keep their interest in check/perspective, (meaning no delusional obsessions/stalking) Bertsche explains these "Para-Social" relationships are not harmful to anyone. According to research, fans can be helped in real life, to feel more connected, less isolated, and more confident. Other studies by evolutionary biologists state that it's normal for others to identify/emulate popular successful people, according to Bertsche.

Although Bertsche enjoyed a happy fulfilling marriage with her husband Matt, she was concerned about the 17 lbs. she had gained since their wedding, her general disorganization, and messy house. To attain a higher level of happiness, organization, and personal satisfaction she began "Project Aniston", with "Jen related research", that included the study of Vanity Fair, Vogue, In Style, Marie Claire, People Magazine, and Good Housekeeping. Bertsche signed up for a $195.00 monthly gym membership to work out, and followed Aniston's dietary recommendations to eat well. Admiring Aniston's trim, youthful, glowing appearance she wondered if a "Jen Body" for herself was possible, or if they would be friends in real life. With Jen's confident, independent, yet guarded disposition Bertsche attained additional insight, reached some conclusions, and new goals.

Goop: is Gwyneth Paltrow's hugely popular website with email newsletters, has a legion of devoted fans, as well as haters, who claim Paltrow is "out of touch with the trials of normal women". In reading Paltrow's cookbook: "My Father's Daughter" Bertsche actually felt like a cook. The "86 Essential Food Items to Have in Your Kitchen" included basic staples. Access to a Farmer's Market was recommended, along with an assortment of kitchen appliances that included a $200.00 pasta roller attachment.

Other celebrities discussed: Sarah Jessica Parker's style and extensive wardrobe. ~ Tina Fey's work ethic and notable book: "Bossypants" (2011). ~ Julia Roberts serenity obtained through meditation. The blockbuster film "Pretty Woman" (1991), Bertsche felt Robert's was too calm/collected and organized for them to be friends. ~ Bertsche compares Jennifer Garner's marriage to Ben Affleck (June 29, 2005) to her own. This celebrity couple's marriage has the inspirational staying power, they don't grant interviews together. The story of their union has appeared on the Biography Channel.

In the past celebrity/movie stars were carefully controlled, managed, and at the "mercy" of studio bosses. Today, big name celebrities form corporation's to capitalize and profit directly from their own name, brands, styles, etc. Bertsche blended her life story in with the celebrity she was discussing. As she shared the challenges associated with infertility and IVF treatments, her conversational style and observations added a highly personalized touch. Readers and fans alike will not want to miss this outstanding book!

Profile Image for Audrey.
1,598 reviews58 followers
July 2, 2014
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 book started, the author had been laid off and was free lancing from home. She was in a loving marriage but was adrift in her professional life as well as her personal habits. Many days, she wouldn't work out or be dressed in anything other then sweat pants. And, she was consuming a lot of processed foods. Because of these bad habits, she didn't feel good about herself.

She decided to emulate some movie stars to try and get her life back on track. At first, she wanted to have Jennifer Aniston's figure so she bought DVDs from Anniston's trainers. The author also joined a gym (and bartered her membership). Ultimately, she started feeling better because she had more structure in her life. Following Anniston's advice (gym and diet of whole foods), Paltrow (diet of whole foods), Fey (how to be more productive at work) and Sarah Jessica Parker (wearing cute and comfortable outfits), the author began to feel more confident with herself because she felt that she was accomplishing a lot each day.

Ultimately, the book showed that the author was also dealing with issues of infertility and needed to focus her energy somewhere. The author also realized that she didn't need to be perfect or even strive for perfection but that she had to make an effort in each area of her life, including her marriage. Little fixes go a long way whether it's not wearing sweatpants to the grocery store or actively watching tv with your spouse.
Profile Image for Beth Gordon.
1,946 reviews1 follower
August 3, 2015
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 and adopt that celebrity's mindset in order to become "happier." (Let's forget the part that most celebrities seem less happy and fuller of self-disdain than the average person.)

So our protagonist starts to try to be Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Garner and a few other celebrities that get derailed because her IVF journey takes center stage. Let's also not forget that "perfect" Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Garner's marriages failed after this book went to print. And let's forget that "perfect" Jennifer Aniston isn't exactly batting 1,000 in relationships either. (See a theme?)

When the book veers to IVF and pregnancy, the integrity of the book (not that there was much to begin with) veers off course. It becomes baby baby baby, and the celebrities she mentions take a backseat. She no longer appears faithful to the project, and the book loses momentum. It's still interesting if you enjoy reading a woman's pregnancy journal.

While I didn't have problems with fertility, I found this book insulting to those with fertility problems. She and her husband have been trying a whopping 7 months to get pregnant. They start IVF and get pregnant right away. To toss around the word "infertility" like she does seems like a slap in the face of women who have been trying for a decade. In the grand scheme of things, her struggle is a tiny bump in an otherwise smooth road.
Profile Image for Carmen Liffengren.
801 reviews33 followers
August 19, 2014
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-called amazing marriage to Ben Affleck), Julia Roberts (for shunning Facebook and embracing tranquility?), Jessica Alba (for her Eco-pregnancy and style) and Beyonce (For having it all together).

I have read Bossypants and I've perused Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbooks (one of her cookbooks includes a recipe for popcorn! Yup. Popcorn.) I've also read both of Gretchen Rubin's books on happiness which Bertsche mentions here. So, I did understand the nature of Bertsche's experiment.

This strikes me as a strange experiment even for stunt journalism. Bertsche finds herself dedicating herself to emulating each of these women in some way. What she discovers is that she is really looking to become a better version of herself by acting the way she wants to feel. Want to feel stylish? Trade the sweats and yoga pants for a casual intentional outfit. Want to feel better? Try Gwyneth's diet and cleanse. You get the idea.

I don't read US Weekly or follow any celebrity and I know that the image I see isn't always the whole truth. Even Bertsche knows this, but yet, she knows that she can learn something from these women. Some, she realizes are just too out of touch with the mainstream woman (Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyonce) to be of real inspiration.

It's an interesting read, but I'm not really comfortable with the whole cult of celebrity thing.
Profile Image for Kristin.
187 reviews
July 26, 2014
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. That is how celebrities look perfect. So is it possible for an average woman to look and feel like a celebrity by tweaking her own lifestyle?

That question, as well as Bertsche's previous book MWF seeking BFF (which is fantastic), lead me to read this book with anticipation. Unlike her previous book where Bertsche goes on 52 new friend dates in a year, this experiment felt half-assed. Bertsche starts out strong by adopting Jennifer Aniston's fitness lifestyle (kudos to her for working out twice a day and finagling a deal for an otherwise expensive gym membership) and then Gwyneth Paltrow's demanding recipes. But by the time she starts tapping into Julia Roberts' serenity and Jessica Alba's pregnancy advice, Bertsche is holding back. Spoiler alert: Bertsche occasionally meditates for ten minutes a day to imitate Julia and slathers on non-toxic stretch mark cream to be more like Jessica. The worst part? When you get to the second to last page and Bertsche writes, "I didn't start this journey so that my life would suddenly look more fascinating on paper." Face palm. Now she tells us.

This should have been edited and published in Elle or Marie Claire instead. That would have been a musing magazine article.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
333 reviews9 followers
September 4, 2014
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 of what made this book so darn enjoyable for me.

This book is pretty self-explanatory. We follow Rachel as she strives to perfection by trying on the various lifestyles of the celebs she admires most. Each chapter focuses on one celeb, which was pretty much the perfect amount. If I didn't care for the celeb, I didn't have to suffer through the whole book. But for the most part, I liked most of the celebs she was trying to emulate. This book also served as a great look into the celebrity-obsessed culture. Plus, Rachel intersperses her attempts with actual research into the life of a celebrity, along with glimpses into her own personal life, especially in her quest to become pregnant.

Overall, I loved the book. Just as I did when I read her first book, I felt like I actually knew Rachel. Throughout the entire book, she comes across as approachable and likable, unless I just feel that way because we have similar neuroses. Either way, I had fun reading about her year trying on various celeb lifestyles.

Note: I received this book for free through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,090 reviews2,952 followers
November 16, 2015
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 excercise to cooking - using celebrities as inspiration. The concepts in the novel aren't especially deep. I would describe this memoir as "brain candy". However, it's a fun book for anyone on a self-improvement kick.

Readers should know that the author's infertility issues play a large role in this memoir. I'm certain this quest started as a distraction to her efforts of trying to conceive. Personally, I find it interesting to read about other people's fertility struggles, but other readers may dislike the inclusion of these sections.

I felt this novel went downhill towards the end. As other reviewers mentioned, it felt like she lost interest in her project after she became pregnant. The earlier sections on Jennifer and Gwenyth are far longer and more detailed than the later chapters on Jessica Alba and Julia Roberts. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book to others. Yet, it was good light read during my most recent reading slump.
Profile Image for Charlotte.
78 reviews3 followers
July 8, 2022
some people might think the idea of this book is corny but I absolutely loved it, she writes with such honesty and humor, and as someone with v mixed feelings about celebrity (iykyk) I really appreciated her examination of celebrity culture. plus i love self help. it was a very personal and light hearted book that I will be thinking about for a long time.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,078 reviews72 followers
March 16, 2014
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 celebrities she most admires. These recollections are interspersed with her attempts to get pregnant through IVF.

So, we walk with Rachel as she tries to get Jennifer Aniston's body, Gwyneth Paltrow's cooking skills (ah, Gwyneth...yet another celebrity that I dislike so much I'm weirdly fascinated by her), Sarah Jessica Parker's fashion sense, Tina Fey's work ethic (OK, THAT is one I can get behind), Jennifer Garner's marriage (six degrees of celebrity separation. I now live in Jennifer Garner's hometown. I didn't grow up here, but a lot of my friends who did know her and some are still very close to her. Her parents are still here so she, Ben and the kids visit often and she's regularly seen around our not-very-large city....I've never seen or met her, though.), Julia Roberts's "serenity", Jessica Alba's pregnancy (so, spoiler alert, the IVF takes) and...everything Beyonce.

First, even before she starts this improvement plan Rachel seems to be doing OK. She's been laid off from her job, but she's now able to commit to writing full time, which she loves and does well with. Her husband is great. She has wonderful friends. Other than the baby, I'm not sure why she was unhappy with her life. But book contracts are GREAT motivators, and most of us could say with a straight face that we could do better in most of the aspects listed above. The most detailed chapters are the workouts and the cooking, the rest get rather short shrift (which makes sense - how much can you talk about the marriage or "serenity" of someone you don't know at all?). Note, however, that with regard to exercise, Bertsche was already pretty active and by the end of the book she's working out about six days a week, sometimes twice a day. Um, OK. I'm sure she loses weight and feels better, but most people can't do that (Bertsche does repeatedly note that all the women she is emulating have a massive number of paid assistances to make this all look easy and thank God for Tina Fey who admits that she skimps on exercise to work and spend time with family).

There are experts chiming in on the nature of celebrity worship, but there are also some mixed messages here - while she laments "from the minute we drag ourselves out of bed in the morning till the minute we fall asleep at night, we are inundated with messages that tell us we should be thin, beautiful, successful, and sexy while being exceptional parents, supportive spouses, superlative employees, and cheerful volunteers. Oh, and we're supposed to get restaurant-quality Thanksgiving dinner for twenty-three people on the table without breaking a sweat" (302) but then she tries to accomplish all these things, becoming yet another one of those messages.....so is she just another person trying to make slugs like me feel badly? Or aspirational? No great epiphanies to be found here, but, overall this it's a fun, quick read and will likely be quite popular.
Profile Image for Monica Lee.
Author 5 books19 followers
September 4, 2014
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 manufactured memoir, then, happens when a writer takes on a project of some sort, usually a year in length, and then writes about the life lessons it produces. Think of how Wendy McClure explores the myth and mysteries of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie in The Wilder Life, or how Judith Levine rebels against capitalism by living a year without shopping in Not Buying It, or how Julie Powell endeavors to reclaim her life by cooking through Mastering the Art of French Cooking in Julie & Julia. Clearly, sometimes a manufactured memoir cultivates drama in some degree (even Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love was a bit manufactured).

Enter Rachel Bertsche. She’s the best selling author of MWF Seeking BFF. I picked up her latest, Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time, because I’m pondering a makeover memoir of my own.

In Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me, Bertsche attempts to live like a celebrity. While sticking to a budget. She learns regular exercise is good, watching football with your husband is good and kale smoothies are bad (agree, agree and agree).

While built on an artificial foundation, the book is charming. Fortunately for Bertsche (or maybe it was planned), the story of her quest to get pregnant is entwined with her efforts to exercise like Jennifer Aniston, cook like Gwyneth Paltrow and work like Tina Fey. I got hooked not because I wondered if she’d achieve Aniston arms or Sarah Jessica Parker’s fashion sense but because I began rooting for her to get pregnant.

Bertsche delivers (figuratively and literally). Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me is a good read.
216 reviews1 follower
September 27, 2014
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 there are similarities in Rachel and Tina's writing styles: both exhibit the same wry wit self assessing themselves. Although I didn't identify with Rachel's idolization of various aspects celebrities' lives, her conclusions and honesty with herself were very identifiable.

In the end, Rachel's journey was really not about the celebrities as much as it was about finding some order in our lives--a fact I found particularly ironic in light of the subtext of the book, her pregnancy. At least for me, having kids destroyed any perceived order I had in my pre-child life! A great deal of this book is about trying to get pregnant, and finally getting pregnant. I wish this theme was not completely overlooked in the title and subtitle. As Rachel points out, difficulty getting pregnant is not verily discussed in most circles. Her anxiety, relief, and more anxiety would be a comfort to my friends who have struggled with these issues.

Profile Image for Ricki Ward.
108 reviews30 followers
June 12, 2014
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 having it all like Beyoncé, in the hope that if you act like a celebrity, perhaps you'll begin to feel like a celebrity (though on a budget and minus the paparazzi). There seems to be a fine line between a healthy admiration of a celebrity as a role model and an unhealthy celebrity worship/obsession, and Bertsche toes the line in a witty, entertaining fashion. The author's experiment is very reminiscent of my favorite human guinea pig, AJ Jacobs. I look forward to reading more from Bertsche in the future, but for now I'm off to explore the world of Goop!

Disclaimer: This book has been provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
1,231 reviews33 followers
June 4, 2014
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 for what it is. Bertsche decides to emulate the lifestyles of Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tina Fey, Jennifer Gardner, Jessica Alba and Julia Roberts. Sandwiched within the results of her project, she mentions celebrity tidbits and quotes from the actresses (which I'm ashamed to admit, I was familiar with). Two takeaways I got from this book: Check out Gywneth Paltrow's cookbook and look into buying a tutu for myself (or something similarly outrageous).

Review copy provided by Random House.
253 reviews3 followers
July 30, 2014
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.
Profile Image for Roanne.
248 reviews11 followers
April 18, 2015
Vapid. Not just fluffy, but Fluffy Lite. Yuck.
Profile Image for Angela.
Author 3 books27 followers
June 8, 2017
I love Jen & Gwyn and thought this was a fun read.
Profile Image for Laura.
34 reviews7 followers
February 7, 2020
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. There’s a fair amount of repetitive justification about how, yes, obsessing over celebrity culture is bad, but it can be good if it’s aspirational. In my experience, it’s mostly bad as celebrity life is completely unrealistic, but whatever works for you. Anyways, I did enjoy the book, although I think some of the celebrity emulations were a token nod to the book’s premise, particularly the one on Beyonce, which could’ve been cut.
1,751 reviews15 followers
April 15, 2019
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 various celebrities more interesting to the author. I imagine trying to get pregnant is very hard and that giving control over some other areas of your life to a set of celebrity dictates might be attractive.

I liked this book and it was a fast read. If you think you'd like it, you like it, but it was a little silly. Or fun, depending on the perspective.
Profile Image for Meredith Boster.
85 reviews31 followers
May 19, 2018
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.
998 reviews
December 17, 2018
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.
25 reviews
January 5, 2022
Even though not every chapter was relatable to me personally, Bertsche is so engaging that I still enjoyed the book. I enjoyed her methodical approach to self-growth, but she was honest about her setbacks without seeming overly self-deprecating. The insight she provides is well-timed, allowing the reader to feel like they are going on this journey with her - instead of just reading about it several months later. I don't remember the last time I enjoyed a memoir this much!
Profile Image for Jennifer Daniel.
1,255 reviews
May 25, 2018
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.
177 reviews
June 3, 2020
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.
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