The road to Wellville /

Main Author: Boyle, T. Coraghessan.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Viking, 1993.
Edition: 1st Viking ed.
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Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Rotund comedian Anderson, who frequently appears on late-night television, knows that ``fat jokes'' aren't funny. In examining the source of his addiction to junk food, he here expands his search for self-understanding begun in his first book, Dear Dad. One of 11 children of an abusive, alcoholic father and a complacent mother who treated the family's hurts with massive amounts of food, Anderson chronicles the steps he has taken--forward and back--to find the causes of the low self-esteem he expresses in overeating. Comparing himself to the circus elephant Jumbo, he leavens his sad personal journey with wry humor and bits from his comic routines. He notes that his candid evaluations of family relationships facilitate an emotional healing that allows him--as he suggests it will others--to better care for his body. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Weightless epiphanies about losing weight from Anderson, professional comedian and bestselling author of Dear Dad (1989). Anderson's earlier surprise hit was low-key but effective as he faced his dead alcoholic father with unmailed letters that relieved his low self-esteem. Dad usually called him ``lard-ass,'' a memory that kept Anderson walled up in food until he joined Adult Children of Alcoholics and entered therapy. The present book focuses largely on Anderson's life before therapy and ACOA, with the prosperous but unhappy young comic having to stand on side-by- side scales to weigh his 360-plus pounds (he suggests at one point that he topped 400). Anderson bemoans the failure of diets to keep his weight off--weight he has lost repeatedly--and determines that his entire family of 11 siblings became dysfunctional (nine of them overweight) not only because of Dad but also because of Mom, who covered over the family pains with food. Anderson was grossly fat when he began school and only got worse. Throughout, he presents us with a laundry list of discoveries about food being a defense against you-name-it. Meanwhile, he feeds a mania for antique furniture that eventually finds him renting three storage cubicles for his excess chairs and a lifetime's gathering of junk. We follow him into a few fat farms and hospitals, give him a half-cheer when he buys a treadmill, and spend some binges with him. His final epiphany is a love-bearing letter-writing campaign to his siblings as he tries to unite them into a happy family. And he sells his antiques and million-dollar home in hopes of uncovering the bare bones of his inmost being. Thin, even surly, vaporings that will sell like buttered hotcakes.

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