Ada’s Rules by Alice Randall

A quick rundown… Ada wants to lose weight. This is how she did it, confronting a number of other problems along the way.

Strengths: Empowering and funny.

Weaknesses: Sometimes a little formulaic – more self-help than novel at times.

Why I read it: Sent to me by Bloomsbury ANZ – thank you!

Pages: 343

Published: 2012

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Setting: American

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

 

Ada’s Rules is subtitled ‘A Sexy Skinny Novel’ which is apt. This book is novel, taking the journey of one (fictional) woman’s weight loss, combining weight loss tips (some good, some I’d doubt the scientific validity of) with the problems of ailing parents, a husband who might be cheating and daughters that might be taking the wrong path.

Ada’s motivation for losing weight is a common one – the dreaded school reunion and meeting of a former flame. However, this girl is determined with a capital D. Organising herself with a diary/food journal and an ever-growing list of rules (every chapter is titled with one of Ada’s rules), she begins to kick butt. Some of these rules are common sense – such as exercising – but I’m not too sure that the diet based on your DNA has much supporting evidence.

But it’s not just excess weight plaguing Ada. She’s worried that her husband might be cheating. She’s worried that she might cheat with a former flame (especially as he likes ‘skinny girls’). Her daughters are starting to put on weight and all her sisters died from complications relating to diabetes. Her mum doesn’t recognise her, living in an alcoholic delirium. Her business is trying to stay afloat to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Despite all this, Ada manages to stay positive and on the weight loss wagon most of the time. I found this book to be inspiring in places (telling me that it is a good idea to walk up 10 flights of stairs or ignoring work morning tea goodies) but sometimes some of Ada’s positive steps rubbed off on me the wrong way, leading me to think, ‘I deserve that ice cream!’ Not so good.

It’s definitely a unique idea to wrap self-help tips for weight loss around an interesting, light novel. I wonder if this book could be treated as some cognitive behavioural therapy? (I did lose 1kg while reading it!) I also thought it was good that Randall brought to light the complications of diabetes and their consequences, as I feel this isn’t something that it widely known or taken seriously in the general media. The overall positive tone makes you feel that weight loss is achievable, whether it be 1kg or more than 20kg – it’s just a series of small steps.

It’s an easy and fun read, but you’ll take away some important messages about food and exercise. I really like books that teach while entertain and if you do too, you’ll be cheering Ada on the whole way.

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2 thoughts on “Ada’s Rules by Alice Randall

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  1. This sounds like a fun and useful book. I’m not keen on self-help but the book sounds like a memoir in other ways and I do like those if they are on an interesting topic. Losing 1 kg while reading the book is good! Maybe I should try it.

  2. Hahaha, so the stairclimbing and refusal of sweet treats at teatime did work! Self-help in the shape of a novel is perhaps better than plain self-help. At least this way, the reader can relate to someone, fictional or not, and be motivated by her 🙂

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