Friday, February 15, 2008

The Skinny: How to Fit into Your Little Black Dress Forever by Melissa Clark and Robin Aronson

Observant blog readers will notice that I occasionally read diet and fashion books (but not very often, and now I remember why). This one caught my eye though – the reviews on Amazon proclaimed it “sensible” and I think that’s what attracted me. One of the authors (can’t remember which one) is a food writer, and I thought, well, that has to be a challenge, to be a slim food writer, so maybe she’s got some good advice.

She does (and her co-author, too) – there is good sensible information in this book about portion control, about making good food choices, about avoiding fad diets. There are also some appealing recipes. The problem is I have heard it all before. The other problem is the pink cover with the cartoony black dress, and what it represents. I am not 13 and probably neither are most of this book’s readers; why must the cover look like it was designed to appeal to a middle-schooler? And to take the whole thing to another level of criticism, there is the girlfriendy tone, and the anecdotes about how we’ve all been tempted to spend the rent money on those fabulous boots that would change our lives. Well, I have never been tempted to spend the rent money on boots. I spend the rent money on rent. And I never for a moment have thought that owning a certain pair of boots would change my life. Even if the message here is that it’s smarter to resist, I can’t help but feel that the book insults my intelligence with assumptions like these.

Am I overreacting? Should I have expected this? I don’t watch Sex and the City. I don’t read fashion magazines. I should just not even try reading books with bright pink covers.


Anonymous said...

Overreacting? Heck no! I'm with you: I've never been tempted to spend my rent on boots, not have I ever thought boots would change my life...I thought I was the *only* girls who hasn't watched Sex and the City. Glad it's not just me!

Rover said...

We shouldn't judge a book by its cover. It's good that you're not breaking this cardinal rule!!!

We must just have faith that the book's marketers know which sorts of covers sell, and which don't.

As for diets, I think there's no substitute to eating what one now eats, but only less of it, since I've noticed that fat people usually eat lots of food.

To write a book about dieting is, I suppose, as good way as any to make money, as good a way as writing a book about how to make money.

Becky Holmes said...

Melissa, you are so funny, and everything you say is true. I know that authors have no say about cover designs, so I certainly can't blame them for that, or for how the book is marketed. And yes, ultimately their goal is to sell the book so they can make money.

heather (errantdreams) said...

Ugh. That would have driven me insane. And people thought this book was sensible? I've never once felt tempted to spend rent money on boots, and I have no urge to look good in a 'little black dress'. My desire to eat well and lose weight, believe it or not, is about health, not fashion. I don't want the diabetes or heart trouble that runs in my family, and my current gallbladder trouble served as a real wakeup call. I certainly have no urge to read this book. I've read diet books that looked awful on the outside but were actually sensible on the outside (I was surprisingly fond of Tosca Reno's books), but I think this one would drive me nuts.

heather (errantdreams) said...

Err, I meant, of course, "but were sensible on the inside." Apparently I should have more coffee! :D

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