If you have watched The Biggest Looser you have probably heard of or seen Abby Rike. Abby competed on Season 8 of The Biggest Looser, and this book is her story. For those looking for a book on weight loss (which I wasn’t), this book may very well be a disappointment because it’s not about weight loss primarily. What is is about, though, is so much more – and it is worth the read. In 2006 Abby lost her husband, five year old daughter, and two-week old son in a terrible car accident, leaving hear all alone. As she tells the story, she lived in an ideal world with a wonderful family. The book is more about dealing with the loss of her family than anything else, and, as someone who has experienced an untimely death of a loved one, she very accurately explains the grieving process so many of us have gone through, and the feelings we encounter. Yes, grieving is hard and life is difficult and bad things happen – we can all accept that – and there is the whole stages of grief thing we all know about. But what Abby discusses with such honesty and openness is what she felt from other people and their failure at times to support and care for her. She discusses the struggle to make it appear as if everything is just fine when it’s really not, and the almost impossibility of finding someone on whom to open up to that won’t judge you, won’t try to explain away your pain, won’t go running when you come near, and will be willing to just listen and not say something stupid in response instead of just staying silent.
The book does talk about her weight loss journey and her time on the show, but the bulk of the book introduces you to her family, their deaths, and her grieving process – in fact, you are 2/3’s of the way through the book before weight becomes a major issue and The Biggest Looser is really mentioned (she downplays the weight issue so much that when it does come up it’s almost as if it comes out of no where). Again, this is not a book about weight loss but a book about grieving, suffering, and learning to live in a fallen and broken world. She is honest in saying she’s not there yet and she still has rough days – which, unless you’ve experienced the untimely loss of a loved one you can never fully understand – but she is willing to share her journey in an honest and open way.
Perhaps the best chapter in the entire book is the very last one, the one entitled “A Letter to the Reader”. Here she gives an update on where she is now, she overtly shares her faith in Christ, and acknowledges that we don’t always understand or know what will happen. My only disappointment with the book is that it didn’t feature her faith more openly, particularly earlier in the book, but it is something she remedies at the end. Overall I’ll give this book 3/5 stars.
Note: I received this book free from the publisher as part of their blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review of it. I am disclosing this to comply with FTC regulations.