Monday, 9 January 2012

The Fat Chance Guide to Dieting by Claudia Pattison

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Three women are battling the bulge at the local "Fat Chance" slimming club.  Holly lives with Rob but has to deal with the far too frequent visits from his overbearing mother.  Naomi is a wedding photographer who finds unusual perks to the job and recently widowed Kate has been seeking solace in the fridge.  The three become firm friends and support each other through the strict diet regime, a boot camp and their own personal dilemmas.

So two things made me buy this book; firstly, I just loved the cover and even though I know you shouldn't judge by that alone, I probably am a marketer's dream and yes, I do fall for the trap! Secondly, I'm back on the diet wagon, and although I've not submitted to the slimming clubs this time, I've been there (several times), bought the t-shirt, calorie point book, those horrid diet biscuits that taste of nothing and I have been the cynical element that sits at the back that the leader finds difficult to motivate!  So I was in for a light hearted dig at the world of losing weight...and although the book does provide that, I was disappointed...a bit like how Options 40 calorie hot chocolate just doesn't deliver against a full fat Starbucks version!

I didn't realise (should have checked the blurb on the back) until I'd bought the book that Claudia Pattison also writes as Leonie Fox.  I read one of those a couple of years back and wasn't overly enthusiastic, so I'd have probably not bothered if I'd been more thorough before slinging it in my supermarket trolley.
As a parody of the horrors of slimming clubs, there was a couple of points where I smiled, but Amanda the club leader is beyond horrific (and at times makes Marjorie Dawes look empathetic!) so it might be funny, at first, but is completely unbelievable that anyone, particularly a professor of psychology, would pay for the privilege of being harangued by such an unoriginal stereotype.  And that's my main problem with this book, it seemed almost over the top, cartoonish at times with such bizarre situations that I just couldn't enjoy it.  The characterisation seemed thin and I really didn't like or care for anyone throughout the story, even Holly, who was the most believable person but was just so wet!  Without giving spoilers,  Naomi was the most unreliable character as I not only disliked her life choices but there was no indication as to why, and as Naomi apparently weighs in at 11 stone is she really likely to be attractive to Toby's "interesting" predilections?
On the plus side, it does rattle along and I still love the cover! However, although it's definitely not to my taste, it will appeal to many.