Not Feeling So EnLIGHTened


I recently read EnLIGHTened:  How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer by Jessica Berger Gross.  It was a promising premise:  young woman, trying to figure out life, yo-yo dieting, overweight, finds yoga and fitness and finally reaches a happy, healthy place.  I really wanted to like this book, and I did–at least the first half.

Gross talks about her childhood in Long Island and how her parents‘ habits affected her own love/hate affair with food.  She’s honest about the different moments in her life when she thought she’d made a breakthrough regarding her wellness–like a memorable semester abroad in Nepal–only to find herself sliding back into a poor diet and unhappiness.

However, early in the book there are hints as to Gross‘ emotional swings.  She has a chapter titled, “Why I Stopped Speaking to My Parents,” but…she never really tells us why.  I won’t spoil the whole thing for you but, while I understand her anger at her father, the blow-up that leads to her estrangement from her mother is underwhelming at best.

It also hints to what the latter half of Gross‘ book reveals:  she’s very much a holier-than-thou kind of person.  She claims to be spiritually enriched by yoga, to have found peace and forgiveness, and to have found how to be kind to other creatures, yet she refuses to speak to her parents, including her innocent mother.  Initially she seems like a real, down-to-earth kind of person explaining the ups and downs of her journey, but ultimately she is sanctimonious and condescending.  She starts fasting, which leads to vegetarianism, which leads to preaching against meat.  Don’t get me wrong–I have nothing against vegetarians, and I’m not a big meat-eater myself (more on that later), but it bugs me when people get really preachy about their beliefs.  (Feel free to call me out on that if I get preachy.)  So, while I enjoyed the earlier part of Gross‘ book, the end of it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Have you read this book?  What did you think?

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