Literary Inspiration: I’ll Have What She’s Having

I'll Have Collage

Cute manicure inspiration aside, I don’t have a lot to say about this book, I’ll Have What She’s Having: Adventures in Celebrity Dieting by Rebecca Harrington.  I chose this book to satisfy the to-be-read requirement in my friends’ reading challenge, predominantly because it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for the past two years, longing for precisely that, but also because I was in desperate need of a light, literary palate cleanser after The Handmaid’s Tale.

Following the sort of “I’ll do crazy crap for a year and then write about it” literary craze that started with Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia, I’ll Have What She’s Having tosses writer Rebecca Harrington into the deep end of the celebrity dieting world as she attempts to emulate the weirdly restrictive eating habits of, among others, Madonna (macrobiotics), Karl Lagerfeld (Diet Coke), Marilyn Monroe (raw eggs in milk!) and Greta Garbo (pure, ear-splitting dietary insanity, with a heavy emphasis on a make-ahead (and apparently never-eat) celery loaf.)

I'll Have 1

That all seems like fertile ground on which to mine a lot of excellent observational comedy, if I may mix my metaphors.  Yet I’ll Have What She’s Having was stubbornly flat, more a recitation of the unpleasant facets of these diets (the social isolation, the prohibitive costs, the biological disruptions) than any sort of insight, humourous or otherwise, into those same issues.  I was looking for something light, but this was just slight.  Clocking in at 161 pages of very large text and an inexplicable number of double-spaced paragraph breaks, it felt like a feature length magazine article that was needlessly stretched into a full length book.

The inside cover art did provide some pretty great nail art inspiration, however.  Can’t ever go wrong with bold graphics of food against a star-printed background.  That’s, like, right where I live!

I'll Have 3

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11 thoughts on “Literary Inspiration: I’ll Have What She’s Having

    • Not solely Diet Coke, but he drinks so many of them (10 or more a day) that they seem to act like an appetite suppressant. The author was so jacked on caffeine and aspartame, she wasn’t that interested in food! There’s some crazy wisdom there, I think. 🙂

  1. What atkokosplace said:) I love me some cute cover art, alas a book I would never read as my own diet talk bores me and I’m living it. But the Diet Coke diet may be worth a googling effort just for bizarro phenomenon’s sake.

    • Diets ARE boring, especially when you’re living them. Why would you want to hear about someone else’s? Basically the deal with Karl’s diet is that there is *some* food involved, but precious little (and ungodly weird stuff, like quail poached in red wine, oh yak.) The 10-plus Diet Cokes a day seem to be one part addiction and one part appetite suppressant – apparently you don’t want to eat at all when you’re that jacked on caffeine!

  2. All the famous people go crazy in their own way. I think it’s because they are afraid to grow old. Mani is beautiful! Me on such a design usually pushes Christmas gluttony 🙂

    • Absolutely! And I guess if they think drinking nothing but eggs in milk will keep them young (seriously, that was Marilyn Monroe’s deal) then they’re going to drink eggs in milk until they drop.

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