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I Am What I Ate...and I'm frightened!!!: And Other Digressions from the Doctor of Comedy Paperback – September 21, 2004

26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his latest book, the 65-year-old Cosby targets newly minted seniors (like himself) who find their bodies are heavier, slower and creakier than they ever expected. The title refers to Cosby's own experience with a 30-percent blockage in his carotid artery that qualified him for cardiac rehab and greatly increased his risk of having a stroke or a heart attack. "Now I know I'm a walking time bomb," Cosby writes-and tries to play the situation for laughs. In meandering and exasperatingly redundant prose, Cosby describes how he now must sneak chocolate chip cookies when his wife isn't looking, and how he daydreams about the bacon, butter, ice cream, croissants, pies and "cheese, cheese, cheese" that he used to enjoy before his doctor put him on a diet. While Cosby's previous book, Fatherhood, elicited plenty of belly laughs, they are few and far between here. The biggest chuckles can be found when he segues into a critique of smokers, especially his anecdote about a houseguest who braves the weather to smoke outside, though it's 12 degrees below zero. Cosby also deftly critiques typically American paradoxes such as his mother's inability to stop eating fried lamb chops even after she has a series of strokes, and the whiskey-drinking done by a group of grieving friends after one of their alcoholic buddies dies of cirrhosis. But it's hard to appreciate Cosby's jokes when it's obvious that that the health of the people he makes fun of-including himself-appears doomed. Gallows humor has never been Cosby's forte, and readers who enjoyed his lighter works may be disappointed by this volume.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Bill Cosby's television series aren't much good anymore, but every now and then, there's one of those priceless Cosby moments that makes us remember a monologue from the early days. So, too, with his books, which routinely climb best-seller lists mainly as a testament to the entertainer's status as a much-loved celebrity. The pattern holds with his latest, in which Cosby muses on a lifetime of eating the wrong foods ("Chocolate cake! Cheese! Ham! Seven slices of leftover pizza! "). At age 68--and boasting a cholesterol number in the stratosphere--it's time for the pizza man to change his ways. Fans will love the accounts of Cosby struggling with his baser instincts, culinarily speaking, as he tries to follow the strictures of his wife and doctor. Unfortunately, though, much of this material is ordinary at best, nowhere near as funny as similarly themed jeremiads from Calvin Trillin. Still, you can't help hearing Cosby utter the lines as if he were performing a monologue, and that makes them funnier somehow. And his wild digressions, always a key part of his comedy, are on the mark here: rants on bureaucracy in the home, on the name Myrtle, and on positioning yourself in a recliner are among the funniest bits in the book. Hit and miss, then, but from a cultural icon, that's more than enough to draw a crowd. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; Reprint edition (September 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060545747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060545741
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,004,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The legendary comedian, author, and activist Bill Cosby continues to be as prolific and relevant as ever, reaching every generation and every audience since he began his career in stand-up four decades ago. He is one of the most influential performers of the second half of the 20th century. He has had an unparalleled career in television; has sold more record albums than any other comedian; his blockbuster books have sold millions of copies; and his generous support of numerous charities, particularly in the field of education, have endowed many Americans with the gift of hope and learning. Through his groundbreaking appearances on television, particularly in two landmark series each of which defined an American decade, Bill Cosby has touched the lives of millions of Americans. In the 1960s, "I Spy" broke the racial barrier in television by featuring Cosby as the first-ever black lead of a weekly dramatic series. In the 1980s, Cosby returned to television with a show that Coretta Scott King described as "the most positive portrayal of black family life that has ever been broadcast." "The Cosby Show" enjoyed years of number-one ratings and nearly unanimous critical praise.

Cosby's success on television has been matched in other areas. In 1986 he broke Radio City Music Hall's 53-year-old attendance record for his concert appearance. Cosby's also a giant in the publishing world. Fatherhood (1986) became one of the fastest-selling hardcover book of all time, remaining for more than half of its fifty-four weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List as Number 1. It has sold 2.6 million hardcover copies and 1.5 million paperbacks. Time Flies had the largest single first printing in publishing history--1.75 million. Now, I Am What I Ate,and I'm Frightened. A crusader throughout his career for a better world, his great success in the world of entertainment is complemented by his involvement with a host of charity organizations, making substantial gifts in support of education, most notably to predominantly black colleges and to various social service and civil rights organizations. On the evolution of his own style of comedy, Bill Cosby states that he was drawn at an early age to the masters of jazz, learning to emulate in comedy their ability to take an idea and continually find new and innovative ways of expressing the same theme. The legacy of Bill Cosby's comedic genius is as sweet, meaningful and universal as any piece of music ever played.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Less and less of what is self-labeled as "humor" these days causes me to laugh. Bill Cosby's "I Am What I Ate . . . and I'm frightened!!!" is a happy exception. Many people claim that comedy is all about timing . . . which can be hard to do in a book. But with deft twists that I defy you to see coming, he takes you down a laugh-ridden labyrinth of all the foolish things people do about their health. What makes the humor especially powerful is that Mr. Cosby is frequently telling stories on himself. But at the same time you'll recognize yourself . . . and people he knows in these stories.
The basic set-up is that Mr. Cosby is excited about turning 65 . . . because he can spend his social security check to secretly buy food that his wife doesn't want him to eat because it's unhealthy. She runs the check book on a tight leash (with frequent cross-examinations about spending), so this is a real boon.
That happy thought is muddled, though, when Mr. Cosby goes to have a physical. He finds that he has the body of someone much younger than 65 . . . except for a sky-high cholesterol level and a partially blocked carotid artery (the one that takes blood to the brain). Suddenly, he has visions of all that unhealthy food he has eaten all over the years. Ugh!
From there, Mr. Cosby takes you on a funny excursion into all of the other ways that our bodies run down hill (age, hair loss, joints that wear out and physical conditioning), the ways we rationalize "not" doing what we should (conveniently forgetting, changing our focus and simply making up crazy excuses) and the foolish ways that doctors try to overcome our self-destructive tendencies.
Then, he looks around to see the bad habits that others have . . .
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Culbertson on January 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In this book, Bill Cosby discusses, in a humorous way, various changes he has experienced at age 65 and his struggles to give up his excessive, unhealthy eating habits after learning from his doctor that he has very high cholesterol and a thirty percent blockage in the carotid artery.

While it is neither the roaringly humorous book I expected nor a preachy diet book, it is a quick and pleasant read that had me chuckling quite a bit and identifying with many of his observations. His casual writing style, delivered as though he were sitting next to you and talking, accurately captures many of the rationalizations people often use to justify behavior they know is not in their best interest, be it smoking, drinking or eating fat and cholesterol-laden foods. I thought one of the funniest sections was his discussion of hair and skin, where he observes that "as you get older, you don't have oil. The skin is drier." And, regarding hair, he wants to know why he lost hair from the top of his head and it came out on his back and in his nose and ears. Gray hair at that! "What am I turning into?", he asks. I suspect there are a few of us in our fifties and sixties who have had similar thoughts. He also cites his father as having compared the human body to a machine, which, at age 65, has "old parts" -- a simplistic but plausible explanation for many of the aches, pains and limitations one experiences in the later years.

In all, the book is funny and enjoyable. And, possibly, it may be helpful to those struggling with changing their eating habits and other aspects of getting older, as they step back and see it through Bill Cosby's eyes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By KC on January 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I Am What I Ate. . .and I'm Frightened is a book anyone and everyone should read. Those who have problems with cholesterol, or those who pretty much have any health problem, or for even those who love food and would DIE to give their favorites up and only be able to eat them every "once in a while" (3 months) will love this book. Bill Cosby really illustrates his many situations with food, and what he can and cannot eat. There are many times when you wonder where he gets his stories, and how many other people there are out there that relate to his stories. But, at the same time, you wonder how it is that he has funny stories that he can tell about and you never do, and they all happen to be from his personal life. This book made me laugh, snicker, and giggle out loud. All I can say is, if you love to laugh you'll be floating on the ceilings (Mary Poppins) because of this book.
And why would you wear a cotton sweater in the winter? I guess you'll just have to read the book.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a short little book that covers Cosby's thoughts on growing old, having your body wear out, and how we're obsessed with wanting to be healthy without making any changes to our lifestyle.
While he's trying to be humorous, I think he's trying to make some serious points about our society. Such as, how people who are smokers will go to incredible lengths and discomforts to be able to have a cigarette. Or how people who need to change their eating habits will play mental games to try and avoid it (or ask for drugs to erase the effects of the bad food). Too much of it rings true...
If you have a chance to read it, I would recommend the book. Don't know that I would go out of my way to buy it, but having a library a block away makes some things much easier... :-)
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