When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin–the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin–her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. Sure, Janey has gained some weight since her divorce, and no, her beautifully cut trousers don’t fit like they used to, so Janey throws herself headlong into the world of the fitness revolution, signing up for a shockingly expensive workout pass, baring it all for Free the Nipple yoga, sweating through boot camp classes run by Sri Lankan militants and spinning to the screams of a Lycra-clad instructor with rage issues. At a juice shop, she meets Jacob, a cute young guy who takes her dumpster-diving outside Whole Foods on their first date. At a shaman’s tea ceremony she meets Hugh, a silver fox who holds her hand through an ayahuasca hallucination And at a secret exercise studio Janey meets Sara Strong, the wildly popular workout guru whose special dance routine has starlets and wealthy women flocking to her for results that seem too good to be true. As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can’t help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place?
*Thank you Doubleday Books and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Fitness Junkie is a ridiculously funny satiric prose on the pressure women, and some men, are facing in order to conform to the idea of being perfect and fit that the society is trying to shove upon us. Just as what happened to 40-year-old Janey Sweet. She was photographed enjoying a piece of bruffin–the result of mixing muffin and brioche together. Her best friend and business partner, Beau, confronted her about it and gives her an ultimatum to shed some weight or else she’ll be kicked out of their company. Janey is the CEO while Beau is the designer of the couture wedding dress company, B, which caters to women with thick wallet yet thin bodies. It turns out there is a clause in their contract that Janey should not exceed a certain weight. And though she knows about it, Janey was confident that it won’t be a problem. Apparently, she is wrong because Beau is certainly taking it seriously. She’d been friends with him since they were kids and even her family treated him as part of their family. So when Beau struggled with his newly found business, Janey swept in to rescue him and made B one of the sought after wedding dress company. She was beyond hurt. She just goes through a grueling process of her divorce but the hurt she felt before is nothing compared to what she’s feeling right now. But she is determined to lose weight, not only because of Beau but also because B is her baby. What followed is a series of diet fads and ridiculously expensive workouts with CJ, her hilarious yet weight obsessed college best friend. She’s meeting new cool friends and there are two great guys who seem interested in her. Things aren’t so bad now, Janey thought. The only question is, can she drop the 30 pounds Beau required her to in 3 months?
What I like about Fitness Junkie is how it ventures to the world of absurd diets and expensive workouts known to man and how Janey didn’t resort to crash diet. Instead, she wants to do things in a healthy and safe way no matter how much she pays for them. And boy, it did cost her a lot. It is something that a lot of people can relate to, as it covers the struggles we have to undergo to conform to what is believed to be perfect. I, myself struggle with my weight and though I haven’t been subjected to a blatant body shaming, I’ve been into situations where it was implied how I am bigger than what they believed is normal. I’ve seen girls on social media being called fat even if they have a perfectly great body because there are a bit tummy fats, or the legs aren’t toned. I’ve seen 110-pound girls resort to diet because they believed they are fat. What’s sad is that some of them are teenage girls.
Anyway, Fitness Junkie is also like an inside look into the life of rich and famous people, how obsessed they are to follow the newest trend and the pressure they go through to fit right in their circle. Albeit ridiculously, they mirrored the perception of some women have these days on what is perceived to be the acceptable size by the society and the lengths those women go through to achieve that. I had such a laugh at crazy diets and exercise classes thinking it’s all fabricated only to find out that they really do exist. I kid you not. There is such a thing as the clay diet where you’ll only eat, you guess it right, clay, and there’s also Free the Nipple yoga where you do yoga topless which I wasn’t aware of before.
Janey is such a strong protagonist. She is smart, sassy and independent and not hard to connect with. I admire her loyalty towards Beau even though it’s obvious how he doesn’t care about her as much as she does to him. Ivy, Janey’s cousin who’s a spin class coach, interest me a lot and it’s kind of disappointing not to read much about her since she narrates some chapters, too. There may be a handful of characters to follow, but they are all equally entertaining as Janey. And aside from that, you just have to look forward to on what is the next diet trends and insane workout classes Janey and CJ are going to try.
Fitness Junkie may not be something you’ll call a deep book but it sure addresses a rather serious self-esteem issue that is so relevant today. A hilarious story that gives off a moral lesson of being happy with what you are and loving yourself for it. It is a hilarious quick-paced story and certainly an enjoyable read.
(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)
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