This is the busy time of the year for me, so I was going to wait to buy Frances's book until the time to read it wouldn't be stolen from the things I really should be doing. I didn't pre-order a copy and I didn't check my local bookstores on the release date to see if it was there.
Then I remembered that there is a Kindle Reader for the iPhone and went ahead and bought it anyway. Instant gratification. I mostly read it in bed when I should have been sleeping and finished it in two days.
This isn't going to be my typical review for two reasons. First, I can't be objective about a book written by a friend. Second, since I can't rifle through the physical book, it would be difficult for me to find and pull quotes from it -- one disadvantage of the Kindle reader. I think anyone who reads weight loss blogs (and if you don't, why are you here?) would enjoy this book. You may even be in it, since Frances pulled in comments from her various blogs and email conversations in addition to the fictionalized stories of the four other main characters.
It's a good book but it didn't get under my skin in the same way that Passing for Thin did. I think Pamela Peeke (eek!) was right -- Frances is the brand. Most readers picking up this book are probably looking for a sequel to PFT. I think she might have been better off staying more focused on herself and keeping narration first-person limited, instead of trying to create the illusion of omniscience. Some of the details used to fill out the other characters' away-from-Frances-lives (like Mimi's Wiccan ceremonies) seemed too fantastical. I also wondered why Lindsay flew into Cincinnati's airport when there is a perfectly good one in Cleveland, much closer to Kent State. Mostly, though, these stories distract a bit from Frances's, which is the one she knows the best and can tell the most powerfully.
I think, though, that anyone who is trying to lose weight will want to think about the questions this book asks: What is this weight really about? Besides thinness, what goals and dreams do I have? What is food giving me and what is it taking away?
As for the Kindle Reader, it was a great way to read a book in bed. I wondered what I was missing by not getting the "real" book -- were there photos? An "About the Author" section I was missing? If I still had my globetrotting job, I would definitely leave the heavy books at home and load up my iPhone with reading material instead. I don't think I'd buy a Kindle machine, because it's a costly one-trick pony -- but the Kindle Reader for the iPhone is a free app for a gadget I already had. The books are a little cheaper and you can have them in seconds. I also think about all of the books that I bought, read once, and set on the shelf. For those, the ebooks definitely would save my home and the environment a lot of clutter. Still, a physical book can be shared with a friend or donated to charity, and the Kindle book just sits on my iPhone until I decide to delete it. I think that the pricing on Kindle books needs to be adjusted down to account for this reality, and for all the money the publishers save on not printing, shipping, and ultimately remaindering physical books.
Unless the authors get a bigger royalty this way, and if so, Kindle away.