By: Edward Ugel
I’m With Fatty is the story of Edward Ugel coming to the realization that he’s let himself get out of control. His relationship with food, and, with life in general, has gotten out of control. A trip to the doctor and a resulting trip to a sleep clinic results in a CPAP machine, and an epiphany of sorts. He then decides that he’s going to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks. It’s unclear whether he decides to write the book before, or after, he decides that he needs to lose the weight.
Parts of the book read a lot like they are excerpts from a personal diary, while other parts are clearly him recollecting the events. Which is part of the problem I had with the book. The personal diary parts are written in first person while the other parts are written in a past tense first person. There’s no clear delineation between one and the other, and I found myself having to shift mental gears often as the tense changed. The other thing that I found a bit disappointing in the book is that there isn’t really a clear ending to it. I’m sure that Ugel underwent some pretty extensive changes, personally, during the 50 weeks, but he doesn’t cover them much. He tells us all about his failings. But, at the end of the book, he goes straight from a failing to the end. Maybe that makes it more real for some, but, for me, it just made it a book about 50 weeks in his life.
If the book was meant to be inspirational, I think it failed. It is a good book in that Ugel does a great job of covering the reasons behind how he got to where he was, and the struggles that he went through as he “recovered” from his condition. The tense changes, and the lack of any clear resolution (still a requirement in non-fiction, I think.) make the book an average book, at best.