Monday, January 5, 2015

Review: I'll Have What She's Having: My Adventures in Celebrity Dieting by Rebecca Harrington

A hilarious look at the eating habits of the skinny and famous—from Gwyneth’s goji berry and quail egg concoctions to Jackie Kennedy’s baked potato and Beluga caviar regimen—Rebecca Harrington leaves no cabbage soup unstirred in her wickedly funny, wildly absurd quest to diet like the stars.
Elizabeth Taylor mixed cottage cheese and sour cream; Madonna subsisted on “sea vegetables;” and Marilyn Monroe drank raw eggs whipped with warm milk. Where there is a Hollywood starlet offering nutritional advice, there is a diet Rebecca Harrington is willing to try. Facing a harrowing mix of fainting spells, pimples, and salmonella, Harrington tracks down illegal haggis to imitate Pippa Middleton, paces her apartment until the wee hours drinking ten Diet Cokes à la Karl Lagerfeld, and attempts something forbiddingly known as the “Salt Water Flush” to channel her inner Beyoncé. Rebecca Harrington risks kitchen fires and mysterious face rashes, all in the name of diet journalism. Taking cues from noted beauty icons like Posh Spice (alkaline!), Dolly Parton (Velveeta!), Sophia Loren (pasta!) and Cameron Diaz (savory oatmeal!), I’ll Have What She’s Having is completely surprising, occasionally unappetizing, and always outrageously funny.

I'm not a fan of diet fads, but I do find them fascinating.

In I'll Have What She's Having: My Adventures in Celebrity Dieting, the author tries several diets that celebrities advocate or have tried and reports on them. On occasion, she also tries whatever exercise routine they use or is associated with them.

As I expected, most of the diets were unhealthy despite being effective. The few ones that were healthy are too expensive to be a long-term diet plan for most people.

It sounds like it could be a dry, almost clinical topic, but it was exactly the opposite. The author tried the diets for 10 days, sometimes less, if she couldn't continue or that was really the original plan. She starts by saying something about the celebrity, a few anecdotes, and then how she prepared for the diet. This involves researching, ordering cookbooks and exercise DVDs (if applicable), and sometimes, autobiographies as well.

From what I saw, the healthiest diet was Gwyneth Paltrow's. The food was delicious and filling, and the author lost weight. The Cameron Diaz diet she tried made her gain weight, but she became stronger and had better skin so it seems like a good trade-off. For me, the most doable seems to be Sophia Loren's. It's not ideal if you're used to huge portions, but if you don't eat big portions, you shouldn't have a hard time adjusting.

The most surprising celebrity appearance for me was Carmelo Anthony. I had no idea he went on a diet at one point. It didn't seem like too bad of a diet, but it's probably a bad idea for a professional athlete.

The chapters were written a bit like a review series you'd see in a blog. Some of the funnier comments looked like something you'd read on a tweet or something your friend would say during a girl's night out. The author's writing is funny, self-deprecating, and sometimes biting. She's very honest, and while most of the comedy is at her expense, there were a few occasions where she does make jokes about a celebrity or her diet. Personally, I liked her style a lot and I laughed at least once every page.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Vintage for the e-ARC. Publication date of I'll Have What She's Having: My Adventures in Celebrity Dieting is on January 6, 2015.


  1. The author is hilarious.
  2. You learn a lot about how celebrities eat and maintain their figures.
  3. You learn something about the celebrities' lives as well.


  1. I was hoping for more detailed accounts of her diet attempts, or more diets from other celebrities. 


  1. You find self-deprecating, sarcastic humor funny.
  2. You're curious about celebrity diets.
  3. You've tried to diet before or are thinking about trying one.



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