on June 18, 2003
I ordered this book from author Anne Barone's website, received it today and already completed reading it. Like Will Clower's book entitled "The Fat Fallacy", Barone's book focuses on the French lifestyle and compares it to our lifestyle here in the United States. Keep in mind that many of Anne's comments and observations stem from the considerably repressive Puritan ethic which states simply that 'if it tastes, looks or feels good, its got to be bad for you"--such philosophy represents the cornerstone of American thinking on many issues. That combined with our ready-to-go, off-the-peg mentality combines to produce a lethal and contradictory combination in terms of many things especially diet. We feed ourselves preservatives and then worship unrealistically tooth-pick thin models. Sadly, the idea of good old fashioned nourishment that tasted good and was enjoyed amongst family and friends has been replaced snd refined by a culture that reveres 'getting more for your money', and would prefer to pop diet pills, eat chemically preserved boxed entrees and exercise until the cows come home rather than show a little self-restraint and simply stop eating before one gets full. Barone, like Clower suggests that much of the problem has to do with bolting down food--whereas the French spend two hours over lunch, we shovel down our food within 10 minutes---taking the time to eat and allowing the brain to decide whether or not the stomach is full will certainly stop those added inches from ruining our waistlines. Barone does this in a much breezier, fun style than Clower--she relates her own experience in a compelling heartfelt narrative that is easy to read and easier to understand. In addition to her comments on food, she also delineates between the American and French lifestyles regarding their self-image, their clothes, their homes and their relationships with men. Again remember that much of the die-hard American logic that Barone opposes in her book strictly stems from her Bible-Belt background. Those of us that are not from the Bible belt and do not stictly adhere to what is considered good-old American, may already drink wine with our meals, drink water, never soda, eat real food rather than packaged fast food snd have a good sense of self that is not decided by au courant trends seen on television or in magazines. However, if you were brought up to believe that 'gain is never without pain' or 'if God wanted it to be that way, He would have made it that way', you definitely need to read this book. For all others, if you wish to have your own ideology summed up and reinforced by over 1000 years of French culture, this is the book for you.
Anne Barone's tone is fun yet matter-of-fact. I did not like the little magazine-type asides which she uses to tout her own work; I found these to be distractive rather than helpful. She ends her discussion of all components of a French lifestyle with her 100 things-to-do list which neatly summarizes everything in the book. Recommended to every woman who needs to find her inner self, rejoice in it and lose weight along the way to finding much pleasure. I agree with Anne when she claims that if you don't want to do something, you need not feel guilty about JUST NOT doing it.