2 out of 4 stars
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Losing weight can be a nearly insurmountable struggle and one to which most Americans can relate, either personally or through the experiences of a friend or family member. In her non-fiction book Prayer, Faith & Weight Loss: Abide in God, Ask & Believe, Mrs. Johnnie Mae Williams documents the first year of her effort to lose weight.
On January 1, 2014, Mrs. Williams decided that she was ready to start seriously dieting in order to achieve a more healthy body. To hold herself accountable and track her progress, she opted to write about her experiences daily, forming a book at the end of the year. Each day’s entry includes an inspirational verse from the Christian Bible, a weight loss tip, Mrs. William’s menu from the day, and a reflection on her day and her diet. Periodically, Mrs. Williams also includes pictures, usually of her feet on the scale as she weighs herself weekly.
In this writer’s opinion, the reflection was the best part of each entry. Those were the sections that allowed the reader to get to know Mrs. Williams and learn how she struggled and overcame challenges. These sections were all written in the first person and provided an inside view of factors that helped or hurt Mrs. Williams’ efforts. She was very open and honest, reflecting, among other topics, on having to prepare separate meals for her family, her own self-image, issues with her digestion, and the conflict between maintaining the diet and continuing to spend time with friends and family who enjoy fellowship with food. Mrs. Williams is very open about her religious faith, as one might gather from the title of her book, and she references her beliefs regularly in her daily reflections.
While the book certainly had valuable insights and moments where it was inspiring, it wasn’t without a few flaws. The structure the author chose was possibly the book’s biggest detracting factor. With 365 entries, the book was not only extremely long for the genre, but it was also repetitive. The weight loss tips were sometimes repetitive, sometimes contradictory with other weight loss tips, often irrelevant to the reflection portion, and never attributed to any outside author or publication. The book was also written in a highly informal style, using words such as “OMG” or “soooo”. Because the book was formatted like a journal, some readers might find this permissible, but for others, it may be distracting or even irritating. Some grammar errors were also present throughout the text.
There was quite a bit of inspiring content in Mrs. Williams’ book, but the length and format made it a difficult and slow read. With careful editing, the book could fulfill its potential as moving and motivating weight loss memoir, but in its current state, I can only rate it 2 out of 4 stars. Prayer, Faith & Weight Loss: Abide in God, Ask & Believe has plenty of excellent content but needs additional work to hone that content into a presentation that will be realistically readable as well as enjoyable and informative.
Prayer Faith & Weight Loss
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