265 of 289 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest, fascinating portrait
When Van Halen opened for the Rolling Stones at Orlando's Tangerine Bowl in 1981, I was front row center. During Van Halen's encore, Valerie Bertinelli discreetly walked on stage behind them and snapped a picture with a tiny Instamatic. Nobody seemed to recognize her but me. Later the back cover of the album "Diver Down," that photo not only became my early claim to fame,...
Published on February 26, 2008 by Julie Neal
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Much to Add that Hasn't Already Been Said
I have been a fan of Valerie Bertinelli since her very fist day as Barbara Cooper on ONE DAY. I was really excited about this book and reading behind the scene stories about one of my favorite shows growing up as a teenager - other than the occassional mention of Mackenzie Phillips and her troubled time, a hug of support from Bonnie Franklin or a private laugh due to a...
Published on March 24, 2008 by JJ Stark
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265 of 289 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest, fascinating portrait,
When Van Halen opened for the Rolling Stones at Orlando's Tangerine Bowl in 1981, I was front row center. During Van Halen's encore, Valerie Bertinelli discreetly walked on stage behind them and snapped a picture with a tiny Instamatic. Nobody seemed to recognize her but me. Later the back cover of the album "Diver Down," that photo not only became my early claim to fame, but also gave me a moment-in-time memory of seeing a celebrity who clearly didn't want to be seen. I'd always wondered why.
Apparently, she thought she was fat.
Constructed as a series of short chapters, this autobiography is an easy, interesting read. It comes off like a classy tabloid, with lots of details but little trash. You learn all about Bertinelli's experiences with sex, drugs and rock and roll, but she's never mean-spirited and always disses herself as much as others. Weight plays a role throughout, but only one chapter deals with her Jenny Craig experience. The book has 33 black and white photos, including a few from the Van Halen wedding.
I read this the same day I read Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Meth Addiction. What a contrast! Both are true stories with a lot about drugs, yet at the end of Beautiful Boy you feel exhausted, while here you're thinking "Yes! Go Valerie, go!"
Here is the chapter list:
1. THE VISION. An encounter with Eddie during the band's recent reunion tour.
2. TINY DANCER. Early childhood, celebrating good times with food.
3. DAYDREAM BELIEVER. Middle school's "big Italian child-bearing hips."
4. YOU'VE GOT THE PART. Bertinelli breaks into show business at age 14.
5. TUMBLEWEED CONNECTIONS. The first season of "One Day at a Time."
6. BLUE-JEAN BABY. An unpleasant sexual initiation; diet pills.
7. LOVE WALKS IN. An adult boyfriend causes tension.
8. LOVE LIES BLEEDING. Bertinelli deals with her problems by eating.
9. DOIN' TIME. She dates Steven Spielberg and discovers Van Halen.
10. FEELS SO GOOD. She meets Eddie and joins him on tour.
11. RUNNIN' WITH THE DEVIL. The couple move in together and get married.
12. FAIR WARNING. Bertinelli joins the band on its 1981 tour.
13. AFTERSHOCK. "One Day at a Time" gets cancelled; Van Halen peaks.
14. SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN THE PARK. Marital, pregnancy and weight troubles.
15. AIN'T TALKIN' `BOUT LOVE. Cocaine and separation.
16. BEST OF BOTH WORLDS. Eddie and Valerie get back together; she gets pregnant.
17. AND THE CRADLE WILL ROCK. A baby boy: Wolfgang.
18. HEAR ABOUT IT LATER. More marital blues; Bertinelli turns down a chance to be on "Friends" because "I felt too fat to stand next to Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow."
19. YOU STILL NEED WORK. Back again with Eddie. "You look good," he tells her. "You still need to work on your ---. But you look great."
20. FINISH WHAT YA STARTED. Reconnecting with MacKenzie Phillips.
21. HOUSE OF PAIN. Eddie gets cancer, Valerie gets up to 158.
22. WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD TIMES GONE? Sept. 11; Eddie cokes up again.
23. BLACK AND BLUE. Divorce.
24. GOING SOLO. It's hard to be hot at 170 pounds.
25. IT'S ABOUT TIME. Bertinelli dabbles in Judaism, Wolfie joins Van Halen on tour.
26. FEEL YOUR WAY TONIGHT. A new beau.
27. I'M FAT. Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.
28. LOSING IT. The Jenny Craig experience.
29. REGAINING MY LIFE. How Bertinelli maintains her weight and keeps her life on track.
(Update 5/1/08: See all those comments below? Most have to do with the above chapter list. I included it because I thought it would be helpful, however some folks hate the idea. I'd love to know your opinion.)
68 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest Without Any Malice.,
This biography is not just for gals or fans of celebrities. The author is honest & reveals her life in twenty nine brief chapters. There really could have been fewer chapter titles since the contents tended to overlap. Nonetheless, it works well. She is poignantly honest about her experiences, mistakes, weaknesses, fears & insecurities. But, she does so without the often heavy celebrity egomania. She actually comes across as very ordinary & kind.
For she does not attack those who were rather unpleasant to her, very refreshing. Her story is not just her battle with becoming overweight. The drains of marrying to young, a drug addicted rockstar husband, the pressures of staying in showbiz, adultery, & her own food to drug, & back to food addictions are all here. Her writing is self-critical, descriptive, concise & clear. She dispalys how she has learned from her past & shows both stabile emotions & good humor.
The most crucial chapters were: 2-Tiny Dancer," how food became her comfort. 4-"You've Got The Part," her first job in showbiz. 8-"Love Lies Bleeding," how food became her drug of choice. 11-Runnin With The Devil," her early relationship with Eddie Van Halen & how quickly they got married. 13-"Aftershock," One Day At A Time gets cancelled & her depression begins. 16-"And The Cradle Will Rock," how her sons birth brought temporary stability to her family life. 17-"House Of Pain," problems with her husbands addictions leads to her gaining weight more than ever before. 19-"Black & Blue," covers the story of her divorce. 22-"Feel Your Way Tonight," how life became far happier when she meets a compatible man. 29-"Regaining My Life," how she maintains her new found weight loss via Jenny Craig & stabilized her life. This was an authentic & fast read for anyone who likes a celebrity who is grounded in reality.
119 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our little sweetheart bares all!,
Transforming your body from weight loss usually means you shed the old skin too. And Valerie Bertinelli has come clean with her personal life. Unlike the public perception of her hard-core, druggie, alky, but "hell-of-a musician" husband, Eddie Van Halen, she held on to the image of a sweetheart, a Hollywood beauty, and showing us that she could handle the rock star marriage so many said was going to fail.
And here, she invites the reader into her life, the reality of it. Readers will connect with so much here, it's just that we normal folk, don't have that persona to keep up.
And what better way to connect with readers than to share "weight loss battles." For the demise of the marriage, she blames so much on stupidity of youth. Oh how we can agree with that. Stupidity is contagious. Drugs, sex & rock & roll rarely make a good marriage, and I like a quote she gave about limited time with Eddie that if you are both drugged, drunk, etc...you are there, but not there.
Bertinelli is honest with herself and she also reveals insecurities, fears, especially the fear of being fat. My opinion, that celebrities prefer the stigma of being a druggie rather than being fat. This book is not only about the weight loss, but the battle spreads into all aspects of our life.
And as far as the cheating goes...we are really not surprised, even if it wasn't well-known that SHE cheated. When you tie in the rigors of motherhood, rockstar druggie hubby, cocaine lifestyle and pressure to stay in the business, food addiction will most likely be there, or exchanged with another addiction.
The writing is clear, concise, and with descriptions that allow the reader to feel, see and connect with Bertinelli's inner-self, the one behind the camera. She has shed some old skin, engages in meaningful insight, learned from the past, is humorous and emotional. She came a long way, it just took ........one day at a time.
56 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book from an amazing woman,
I admit I may be biased since I have loved Valerie since I was a kid.. she is two years older then I am but I remember thinking she was the most beautiful girl I had seen growing up , I would copy her clothing styles on the show and hairstyles (though I am blonde and blue eyed.. LOL). As an adult I admit if her name was in the credits I would watch it.. any made for TV movie or series I was there. Still am.
Her particular brand of charm works because she comes accross as likeable and approachable. The woman you could laugh with, shop with and just hang out.. she is REAL .. her book is no exception.. I can relete to SOOOoo many of the things she went through including the weight issues and food obsessions and addictings, but the book is soo much more.
AS I think most women can. She has ups and downs and is willing to share with the rest of us,, the books is a wonderful read by a wonderful star who is still one of the most gorgeous women outside I have ever seen and now she proves she is the same on the inside.. Get it.. you won't regret it.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Much to Add that Hasn't Already Been Said,
I have been a fan of Valerie Bertinelli since her very fist day as Barbara Cooper on ONE DAY. I was really excited about this book and reading behind the scene stories about one of my favorite shows growing up as a teenager - other than the occassional mention of Mackenzie Phillips and her troubled time, a hug of support from Bonnie Franklin or a private laugh due to a joke told by Pat Harrington, there wasn't much said about her days playing Barbara Cooper, which took up almost an entire decade of her then, young life!! I wasn't looking for gossip. I wanted to know what it was like growing up in front of millions of people, playing a lead role on one of Tvs top rated shows. What was it like to be known as the "good girl" while your troubled co-star kept running into trouble? How did you get along with Bonnie Franklin and how did she help you become the young woman you became? What kind of influenece did Bonnie and Pat have on you, and did your parents approve?
So many things were touched upon, but that was it - they were skimmed over and barely disucssed. Almost every chapter (nearly every page, for that matter) talked about how angry & troubled Eddie VanHalen was, how insecure Valerie felt and how she always used food to get thru the bad times. If the number of references to these three things were cut in half, perhaps there might have been more room to tell more stories (but then again, it might have been a shorter book!)
While I didn't necessarily feel like I had wasted my time reading the book, I just wish I had gotten more out of it. If you followed Valerie's career growing up and have seen her interviews on talk shows promoting this book, you know just about everything covered (that's the other thing - don't give out the juciest details of your book in an interview the day before your book's released - it left absolutely NO surprises and nothing I read shocked me!)
If you're a fan, I recommend it - If you're curious, read the reviews and watch her interview with Oprah. You'll get just as much info.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest memoir :-),
I have really enjoyed reading this book. It is about her extraordinary highs and devasting lows in life and also a relatable account of her battle with her weight. It's honest and at times very raw and very real. Losing it is more than just her weight; it's about losing the shame and all of the bad stuff that she kept telling herself and losing those voices in her head (self esteem issues).
She talks very openly about relationships that she had. At 19 she dated Steven Speilberg (I don't think I remembered that), and of course her marriage to Eddie Van Halen with their infidelities. Four years into their marriage, she cheated and she talks about his affairs and how after 20 years she wanted a different life for herself. She'd tried to take control of her weight all the years, but it was only when Jenny Craig called that she really got control again of her weight and became successful at it.
I personally found this interesting because I grew up watching One Day At A Time and also like a lot of women, have battles with weight and food. Due to those reasons, you don't necessarily need to be a fan of Valerie's in order to enjoy this read and relate to her struggles and life. It's very interesting and real and I highly recommend it. I really loved it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars HORRIBLE book, shameful person,
This review is from: Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time (Paperback)
The first thing you should know is that this book is not at all about weight, but rather Valerie blaming others for her unhappiness. For a women who claims to be all about family, she comes off as the most selfish person on the planet. She throws her parents under the bus for the teenage years of her life and not communicating with her about sex and other issues. (taking no responsibility for her decision to sneak out of the house and have sex with boys before she was ready). The middle/majority of the book goes on to detail how her marriage was horrible and how awful Ed was to her and her desire to make it work. I will be the first to admit that loving and living with an addict is hard. However, as much as it seems she tries to vilify Ed during their marriage, if you actually look back on the actions she accounts for in the marriage...he came off far better than she did! Not to make light of his addiction, but I feel like anyone married to this woman would need some sort of chemical escape from her. I agree that Ed was not always there in the relationship due to his extreme work ethic as well as his extreme drug use, but he never did things to spite her. This woman is all about spite and being hateful.
She talks about not having any friends until she's in her early 40's? Yet, there are several times in the book when people try to reach out to her and she shuns them away and doesn't call them back or accept their offers. This is a recurring theme in the book (with and without Ed). If you aren't adoring Valerie Bertinelli and telling her she's beautiful, smart, and has a great ass 24/7 you are against her and aren't worth the effort. And if you aren't adoring her 24/7 she cheats on you out of spite.
One thing that I just have to quote, because it portrays her selfishness so perfectly, talking about how she decided to finally leave Ed....
"The real catalyst was September 11. I know that may sound melodramatic to some people, but it had a profoundly personal effect on me in that as I listened to one news report after another of how the tragedy had brought people closer together, I thought, Yeah, everyone except for me." p. 206
EXCUSE ME?????? September 11 was profoundly personal to a lot of people. For me, it changed my career path and my life. I think it changed how most people think and view the world. I also think that most people became so profoundly happy for what they had in life. Not Valerie. Nope, she was pissed that this terrorist attack was not putting her marriage back together.
As another example of her putting family first and caring for others, she took 10 yr old Wolfie out of school for a week after she and Ed divorced because "she needed him". She needs a 10 yr old to console her and make her feel wanted and happy and adored???
This book is not worth the paper it's written on. I actually got this book free from a book exchange, and I'm still this pissed I wasted my time reading it. A hint to the publishers would be to rename this book..."Valerie Bertinelli: The most selfish person on the planet"
32 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money!,
Very disappointing! Save your money! If you are curious to read it like I was, get it from your library! I am soooo glad I did not waste money on this book. I wanted to read it because I liked the person I "thought" she was plus I was into Van Halen when they were in their prime. I expected so much more from this book and it did not deliver. I cannot believe it is number one on some bestsellers lists. I would think that the word would be out now NOT to waste your money on it!
It sounded much more interesting when she was on Oprah. But that is what Oprah does so well, gets books on the best sellers list.
As others have said, the book has NO substance at all. It is very choppy. It is like she would have a thought and just write it down even though it made no sense and didn't relate to what she was writing about. It was one boring chapter after another.
I kept reading it because I wanted so bad for it to get better as I went along. But it never did.
I also don't get why she felt the need to name drop all the men she slept with. I don't feel it is anyones business. My husband doesn't even know who I lost my virginity too! Some things are meant to be private. If she wanted it to be a "juicy" book then she should have gone into more depth and let it be a page turner.
Also in the book she name drops a lot of old TV shows and actors she worked with. But the book lacked so much substance that it would make no sense why she was telling you the information because it didn't matter other than to say she was working away from home.
I cannot believe this book actually went to press that way it was written!
Did I learn anything new about Eddie Van Halen? No, we all know he did drugs but so did she. The stuff she does write about their marriage is not "page turner" material either. In my opinion she was absent from the marriage too....but yet she kept whining about what it lacked.
I really don't get why she wrote this book......because she gained her life back?? Are you kidding? If she did you can't tell by this book.
In my opinion, the majority of her weight issues stem from her line of work. She had to be "skinny" in order to audition for parts and that still exists today. We all know that dieting to a certain number and then going off the diet will make you gain your weight back plus more pounds. I feel that is exactly what happened to her. I don't feel that her new Jenny Craig diet has really solved anything. Yes, she did lose weight but because she is eating 1200 calories. Jenny's food is not the "magic" pill. All diets work as long as you watch your calories in and your calories out.
So....Save your money! If you are still curious to read it, go to your library. This book is not worth a dime!!
29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Empty Calories,
Lite on insight, long on product plugs, this vapid autobiography appears to have been ghostwritten by Jenny Craig's publishing division.
Once an appealing young television personality, Bertinelli now seems content to have re-invented herself as a self-absorbed diet shill who spends as much time here dithering over her yoyo-ing waistline as she does her near-non-existent acting career and failed marriage to a drug- happy rock star. Then one day she discovered Jenny Craig. . . and the rest reads like the world's longest People magazine profile. (Title of book doesn't even make sense--except as some kind of backward homage to Jenny Craig: Sounds as if Bertinelli were suffering from eating disorder and trying to GAIN weight.)
Look elsewhere for anything remotely resembling a shocking revelation--Bertinelli foolishly revealed all the juicy parts (and there weren't that many to begin with) on TV during a pre-publication media publicity blitz.
So what we're left with here is a book-length paid ad for Jenny Craig--only readers are the ones footing the bill. The corporate brown-nosing ranges from Bertinelli's alleged admiration for Kirstie Alley's "success" on Craig's diet program (Huh??? Has she looked at a tabloid lately?) to the inclusion of an unflattering, out-of-focus shot of Jenny herself, accompanied by the ridiculous caption "Isn't she beautiful?" (No, at least not here.) And--did she mention?--Valerie really does love Jenny's cuisine!
Yet despite her self-avowed new-found grasp of responsible eating, Bertinelli is apparently so busy admiring her svelte self in a mirror that she has somehow failed to realize that her seriously overweight son Wolfie now looks like a teenage Jenny Craig spokesperson just waiting to happen. And, with Mom's connections, he just might be.
Will be interesting to see whether she maintains her weight loss once her Craig contract expires and the TV talk shows have moved on to weightier matters than the dial reading on her bathroom scale.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing,
This review is from: Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time (Paperback)
Actually I was hoping this book would focus much more on Bertinelli's weight loss and give readers some kind of advice (even those who cannot afford Jenny Craig).
But there were no before and after photos, in the last few chapters Bertinelli mentions that she lost a lot of weight just by following the Jenny Craig diet and doing 10.000 steps per day.
Well, if she would have been more specific or helpful, I'm sure I would have rated this book more than only 1 star. To be honest, I felt cheated. I only ordered this obscure book from Doubleday Book Club, because their description sounded as if this is an inspiring book on how to achieve weight loss. It is not.
Definitely NOT a keeper.
Save your money and get the "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" DVD, that's a diet that really works.
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Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time by Valerie Bertinelli (Paperback - November 18, 2008)
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