My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Skinny Bitch is a sassy, sharp-talking, humorous, and at times, disturbing assassination of the crap that we put into our bodies. I have been an omnivore all my life but lately, for health reasons, I started thinking about and modifying what I eat. In researching how to be healthier, I came across Skinny Bitch. This book was a #1 New York Times Bestseller…in 2005ish and 2007 in the UK. It does seem like I was the last to know but I say ‘better late than never.’
If like me, you’re starting to think about what you eat and why and how it impacts upon you and the world around you, this is an extraordinarily light and accessible way into a veritable minefield of information. It breaks into bite-sized chunks a huge amount of topics ranging from nutritional content to health outcomes, environmental pollution and animal cruelty and government facilitated industry corruption that I am afraid are still only too relevant today.
The book is, for me, the right balance of enlightenment and humour until Chapter 6 where the authors quote too heavily from another book called Slaughterhouse by Gail Eisnitz. In my humble opinion, supporting materials should be just that and not the body of a chapter. The authors are very honest about their use of this material being to discourage the reader from eating meat. In this vein, it is indeed effective because I haven’t even been able to look at a sausage roll since. On the other hand, using graphically distressing descriptions of extreme animal abuse and horrifying torture has prevented me from sharing an otherwise up tempo book with friends and family whom I am fairly certain will find the content too disturbing.
The writing style is punchy and interesting most of the way through. Chapter 9 delves into government and industry corruption a little too intensely and does become somewhat dry and turgid in comparison to the rest of the book. On the whole, this is a nice, quick read and the lively pace made me gobble it all up in around four evenings.
It is no small feat that Freedman and Barnouin have managed to communicate something as potentially dry as conscientious food consumerism in the voice of girlfriends having fun in a bar over vegan, non-alcoholic cocktails. In a sense they reversed the trickery of big industry marketing teams who present crap as good for us. The authors have presented something good for us in a format that makes us think we’re consuming a celebrity magazine, when in fact we’re learning how we can prevent suffering, reduce damage to our planet and feel altogether better by eating right, well and true. To me, it’s a pretty good message.
Skinny Bitch is an easy, enjoyable and worthwhile read. In the voice of the authors: ‘Just stop being a pussy and read it already!’