The Big Skinny What an honest portrayal of losing weight. In a time when our eyes are being bombarded with arrays of weight loss hogwash and self-image perfection it is so nice to see someone just share facts. Carol Lay shares her story of learning how to lose weight in her memoir, and it is not a one-path step to success.

Lay’s journey deserves a memoir. This is not a straight line she draws from being fat to being thin. She takes the time to really examine her weight problem. She traces it back to childhood and the growing fear that she was being lost in the crowd. This is the conversation that so many advertisements are missing. At the center of this story is a human who had to overcome a decades-long problem.

For Lay, childhood is where the problem started, but it wouldn’t be addressed in a healthy way for a long time to come. Before discussing her success, she takes us through every one of her failures. She touches upon drugs and weight watchers and even hypnosis as some of the many methods that she tried to help her shed pounds. When she fails at these attempts, she doesn’t shy away from the truth. Her life has reached a point where she can look back at these attempts and pause to examine the individual faults of these approaches.

With time and exploration Lay discovers what helped her finally make changes in her diet, and stick with them. Again, all of the details that she lays out were not discovered overnight. She chronicles her adventures at the gym or learning about eating healthy, and even discusses the horrid subject of counting calories.

It is in the self-reflective nature of her story that Carol Lay helps her cartooning shine. Her caricature of herself is always on the page with you. It will bemoan the loss of sweets and comically cringe at some of her previous diet choices. If there is an expression to be accentuated, the character goes there and beyond. At the same turn, Lay can slow down her artwork. After all, this story is not something she wants to come off as easy. When discussing her weight, she draws herself in her rotund glory. A shame that hampered her for years now fills the pages of her memoir, it is some of the bravest cartooning achieved.

This book sets out to help people with a weight problem, or to help those without one understand what a great personal struggle it can be. Where weight is concerned, the person you must fight with, psychically and mentally, is yourself. As Lay proves, that is a very hard-fought victory. If only to help you understand, she allows you to travel with her, every step of the way. Ultimately, in teaching you about herself she helps mentor the reader into seeing how they might make the same changes in their life. The books ends with a hopeful message and pages of tasty recipes with the calories are already counted out. In every way she can think of, Carol Lay enables the reader for success, the rest is up to them.

The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude
by Carol Lay
ISBN: 978034550404
Villard, 2008

  • Sheli Hays

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support!

    View all posts
Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!