I just read Jennette Fulda’s Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir. Fulda, who goes by the nickname of “PastaQueen”, started as a successful weight loss blogger. Her blog, accessible at pastaqueen.com or from my blogroll, has enjoyed a seven year run as a one of the most successful weight loss blogs on the web.
Having read dozens of weight loss blogs, I’ve decided my top criteria for identifying the ones I’ll follow is that the author tells a good story, and has a good story to tell. Fulda is great writer whose humor and use of analogies makes her story much more than a slog through her loss of 200 pounds. With expressions like joining the “fat person witness protection program” and “Nancy Grace wouldn’t have come looking for my fat ass,” Fulda makes the time pass while she’s sharing her transformation.
Fulda’s book concentrates on the journey, the metaphorical of weight loss, rather than the tips and tricks of the process. I would have liked her to share what she did to lose weight – she refuses to disclose her actual eating plan – but she feels strongly that diets are personal and that hers works because she likes the particular vegetables and so forth she has learned to eat. At first, it seemed evasive, but avoiding the quick fix advice allowed the story to evolve.
What makes Half-Assed work is Fulda’s complete lack of preaching. She tells her story and is self-deprecating without being insecure. This would never work if PastaQueen didn’t have an amazing story to tell. Her life is, frankly, uneventful, but in the way that most of our lives are. The beige backdrop keeps from distracting the reader from Jennette. What comes through instead is a normal person – though clearly talented – accomplishing an extraordinary thing, and allowing the reader to feel what it is like to lose, to use one of Fulda’s analogies, the equivalent of seven bags of cat food.
Congrats to PastaQueen, for telling a good story, and having a good story to tell.