Friday, July 20, 2012

book review: "i got this" by jennifer hudson

when i started back on weight watchers a few months ago, jennifer hudson's book "i got this: how i changed my ways and lost what weighed me down" (whew! what a title) had been out for a short amount of time. of course, i was curious about the book. jennifer hudson looks amazing and it's not like her weight loss wasn't one of the biggest transformations whispered about in the tabloids and hollywood. i was dying to know what her secrets were and how i could apply them to my life. i also wanted to hear about how she coped with the tragedy her family endured (though i found out while reading the book does not address this). i can't begin to imagine how it would feel to be in her shoes, and how i would respond if my family had been murdered - i wanted to know how she made it through. 

looking back on my reading experience, i think i had the wrong expectations of what i was going to read. the first 40% of the book was backstory; about jennifer's career and her journey to fame and stardom. it did give good context into her body and weight issues, but i really didn't feel the need for the lengthy biography about how she got to be where she is today. it also felt like there was a lot of, "look at me, look what i did" moments. i'm not a big fan of these, and i didn't like reading over and over again about how jennifer wowed the crowd or nailed a song. it felt like a lot of self-promotion and maybe it's because i don't like to talk about my accomplishments that i see it as a negative thing when other folks do it. probably a personal preference.

anywho, when you got to the 44% mark (i remember specifically looking at the progress bar on my kindle), this is when she gets heavy into weight watchers. and i'm talking, heavy infomercial promotional speak. there's even direct inserts from weight watchers promotional language in the book. yes, i was expecting her to speak about the program, but not in the sales pitch way as it was presented. if i have to read "you really can eat whatever you want and lose weight" one more time, i will probably scream.

i totally understand this book is about her journey on weight watchers, but i wanted more journey and less about the weight watchers program itself. there was commentary about how she managed work-life balance and staying on the program, and stories about how her family was inspired to lose weight, too. and those were nice to read. but overall, i was so tainted from the sales pitch feel of the book that i didn't feel inspired about my own journey, or the program, while reading the rest. (it took me well over two months to finish the book, if that shows you how uninspired i was)

quite frankly, the book could have been condensed and summed up in about 3/4 of the space. there was a lot of repeat commentary about weight watchers (again, that sales pitch). i also thought there was repetition in some of jennifer's stories that could have been left out. maybe it was her very casual tone throughout the book (if you don't like books that are written word for word like someone is having a conversation, do not read this book) that opened the door for stories to overlap and repeat. either way, it was distracting and i found myself thinking time after time that the book could have been summed up much earlier than it was.

what did surprise me were the recipes in the back of the book. fun! i haven't tried any of them, and will most likely forget about them the next time i need a good recipe idea, but i did like that she included a few of her favorite recipes. people who are trying to lose weight always appreciate a meal laid out for them that is in their safety zone.

bottom line:
a medicore book, probably not worth the read if you are on the fence. jennifer hudson fans will probably like it, but if you're looking for a really awe-inspiring book on weight loss, i'm not sure that this is it. the first section on jennifer hudson's career may frustrate you if you don't view yourself as successful and the second section may irritate you if you don't want to be sold on the weight watchers program.

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