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3.6 out of 5 stars
Slim to None
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54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Jenny Gardiner's new novel, Slim to None, starts with a marvelous premise. Abby Jenning's, the food critic for a major New York newspaper, eats her way out of her job. One of the job requirements of reviewing restaurants is to remain incognito. After a photo of her appears in a competing newspaper, and her girth makes the prospect of disguising herself unlikely, her editor reassigns Abby to a desk job for six months. In that time she needs to lose weight, as well as come to terms with her relationship with food, her husband and a family she didn't know existed. She is assisted in her efforts by a homeless man who may not be as he seems, her dog Cognac, and a philandering friend. She must also do battle with a decidedly sneaky and corrupt colleague, who is standing in for her as restaurant reviewer and wants her job on a permanent basis.

The book is very funny, often unexpectedly touching and insightful. It also includes recipes at the end of many of the chapters. Overall it left me hungry for chicken and crab with cheese in phyllo and for more of Jenny Gardner's writing. Jenny Gardiner's Slim to None is simply great fun.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Abbie Jennings loves her job as Manhattan's top food critic- until her identity is revealed and her unflattering picture with ever-expanding waistline is splashed across the newspapers. She becomes the joke of the town as the overweight food lover, and promptly loses her job at the New York Post since she can no longer go incognito to restaurants. Abbie takes this opportunity to finally go on that diet and shed some pounds, but struggles with motivation and the reasoning behind her relationship with food. To add to Abbie's problems, she is going through a difficult time with her husband, who is trying to persuade her to leave the city and finally start a family. It takes the guidance of an unusual friend to finally help Abbie see what she really wants out of life.

Slim to None by Jenny Gardiner is a good story. I didn't get real invested in the main character, and some off the story lines seemed just a bit off for me. I did like the plot, and the descriptions of some of the delectable dishes made me start eating while reading, but it just wasn't enough. Sometimes, Abbie's character came off as incredibly selfish, never really listening to her husband and continually doing things the way she wanted. There is also a best friend in the story, who I never could quite figure out what she was doing there. She popped up at random times, and during most of the meat of the story, she wasn't mentioned at all, only to return once again at the end. I found myself confused throughout the duration, as the writing was a bit all over the place and jumping from scene to scene without any real fluidity. Like I said earlier, I did like the story, I thought it was interesting though not necessarily unique, and I believe some good life lessons can be taken away from the main character's troubles. Slim to None won't be on my Favorites List, but I think some other chick lit lovers will be able to appreciate this story.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this book based on reviews and wasn't disappointed. As someone who isn't a twenty-something but still likes "Chick Lit", I appreciated that the main character was a little older and contemplating some major life issues. It's a very entertaining and easy read with more depth/drama (but no tears, promise!) than typical in these types of books. I thought it was a light read that was resolved - but not predictably - at the end. At the same time, there's room for more to come, so I hope the author writes more books in the series! One of the best books in this genre that I've read in a while. (Agreeing with previous reviewers, there are a few minor editing errors; if 4.5 rating was possible, with the 1/2 star reduction based only on this.)
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Ok. So seriously? This book was so bad. I rarely write book reviews, and this may seem mean, but this book was so bad and here's why: (*spoiler alert*)
I'm going to pretend the Kindle edition, (that's the one I read) apparently didn't have spell check, or an editor and move on to other things that really bothered me. As an overweight person, I have recently begun going to the gym and have changed my lifestyle (food and activity) to lose weight. When I read the synopsis of this book, I thought, wow! What better book to read at the gym, while also working off the pounds?! I could not have been more wrong. For anyone with intelligence and the knowledge of ever being slightly to not-so-slightly overweight, this book was insulting, both to fat people and intelligent people alike. It was packed full of fat jokes, old, not the slightest bit funny fat jokes and a premise that was so over-played that it was completely predictable. The only thing I was hoping for throughout the book was that her loving husband would finally realize what a horrible selfish person she was and leave her. (See, I told you I was going to be mean.)
The book, which I thought would be great for working out included a recipe at the beginning of almost each chapter of some decadent heavy calorie meal or dessert, which just added to the annoyance of this read. So I am supposed to read about your struggles with weight loss and relate this to my own life, and oh! Thanks for throwing in that recipe for a super banana cream pie. That was really helpful! As soon as I stop sweating out my Halloween candy on the treadmill, I'll get right in the kitchen and make that.
The only reason I finished this book was the hope that maybe, just maybe it might get better. But it never did. The last 20 pages or so she finally, all of a sudden, became self-aware, helped a stranger reconnect with his family and realized her husband loved her, and tied the whole story up with a bow.
The story reminded me a little of a fairy tale in the way that the people in the book who were bad, were very bad evil people who were bad in every way, and the good guys were good. There were no grey areas, you know, just like in real life. Oh no wait...
There was no grey area in my feelings toward this book. I actually hoped for the main character to fail, I disliked her so much. It was a colossal waste of time.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I was in the mood for a fast, satisfying read and "Slim to None" delivered with flying colours. I love a story where the character has to overcome great physical odds in order to find themselves. This story was full of funny food metaphors, which sometimes made me groan at the obviousness of it all, but in the end it was a "sweet read".
I thought that I had figured out the ending, only to be pleasantly surprised when it went in a different, but better direction. My only critique was the author would not reveal the main character's weight, which I dearly wanted to know. I understand why the author chose not to reveal the weight, so that more people could put themselves in the MC's shoes, but I'm a numbers kinda gal when it comes to weight.
I fully recommend this book to anyone who wants a story involving an early middle-aged woman who needs to make some major life choices in order to find perfect happiness. I look forward to more from the same author.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I like chick lit. I'm losing weight. So I thought I would like this book, no question.

UGH!

To start with, I hated the main character. The writing was basic and the story was obvious. Abbie's marriage is falling apart, and she's worried about getting her job back. Then there's a weird homeless guy who's actually really wealthy, but pretending to be homeless because of something going on with his wife? Um? In these times when so many people are struggling financially, I kind of thought that whole storyline was just insulting. And Abbie is busy trying to fix his marriage, while she, of course, can't fix her own. And there's the required best-friend, dog, and villain at work.

And the character is never fully developed. She goes to church once, early on in the story, and it seems to be a big part of her life in that bit of the story. But then we never see her going to church, or mentioning God, or saying grace, or anything like that again. So I was left wondering why she went to church that day in the first place. I guess she needed to get away from her (gorgeous, wealthy, loving) husband and it was a Sunday and everyplace else was closed. That's just one example - there are all these dangling ends to her that never get resolved or explored. She could have been a really interesting character. But she was one-dimensional and boring and I wanted to slap her upside the head.

Seriously, the whole thing is trite, and overrated and recycled storylines of other better books.

Oh, and (spoiler alert) at the end, Abbie really is pregnant and sitting on the coast in the South of France or somewhere, and she is eating shrimp and drinking champagne. I'm sorry, but this is so unrealistic I can't even bear it. The woman is in her late 30's, pregnant for the first time, eating shrimp and drinking alcohol in the same meal? If you don't know why that's just completely wrong, you haven't been pregnant in your late 30's (I haven't either, but I have been pregnant in my mid-30's and got plenty of lectures and warnings from my doctor about those two things).

I try to not give really negative reviews that often because, hey, the author wrote a book, and that's more than I've done. But seriously, life is too short to read this book. I'd also bought her other one, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, but deleted it immediately after finishing this first one. Life is just too short. There are so many good books out there. Don't waste your time on this one.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed and marveled at the variety of characters. Abbie Jennings grows in your heart, even as she shrinks. William is the perfect husband--maybe too perfect. He sets the bar high. Even cognac is added to the mix in a unique way. George is a confused man who has run away from life, only to eventually find he made a mistake. Life was waiting when he returned. Sometimes I got tired of seeing recipes, the book would have been enough without them. The use of gourmet foods added greatly to Abbie's life, and to the way she saw things. I felt over all the story was fun and entertaining and I would buy the book again.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I do love Amazon for one reason only, sometimes when they recommend books to you they do point a good book your way that you may have otherwise overlooked.

I read Slim to None by Jenny Gardiner a few weeks ago and thought that it had a great premise though at times fell flat. It is a good chick lit novel though I think that there are definitely chick lit novels out here now that are written very very well.

The novel is about Abbie Jennings, who is a top food critic in New York who over time has gotten heavier and is therefore more recognizable to the restaurants she goes to, to review food. Unfortunately Abbie has her picture taken and shown in the New York Post ending her career as a food critic since one of the purposes of the food critic is to be able to go into a restaurant, order food, and have no one know who you are so you get the same dining experience as others.

I wish that Gardiner had spent more time on the food critic aspect of the job instead of bouncing all over the place story wise. The reader finds out early on what led to Abbie's obsession with food, the fact that Abbie doesn't get it is just laughable. With a husband that is pushing her to move out of the city and start another phase of her life her protests seem selfish and I had a hard time feeling for her at different parts of the story. Throwing in her best friend and a homeless man she befriends was really not necessary at all. The ending made me kind of shake my head a bit since I felt that tons of things were resolved too neatly.

I am all for the angst in a novel instead of those novels that have people just seemingly overnight forgive one another. I thought Abbie had a right to be angry at certain people in her life. A more truthful book would have in my opinion had her listen and take time to forgive and move on instead of saying okay in this scene she totally is over that now.

Gardiner can definitely write, her descriptions of food made me go and have to make a sandwich since I was hit with hunger pangs listening to her character Abbie's descriptions of food. However, I can say that I am over the authors that always include a recipe (that ends up being 4 pages long) at the end of their chapters. If I wanted a cook book I would buy one. I know that sometimes readers can read about a recipe and want to know how to cook that but seriously 30 percent of your novel should not be recipes.

I would give this novel a B-.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I have to preface by saying that I'm new to the genre of "chick lit"...I'm a big fan of Jen Lancaster, both her memoirs and novel. Jenny Gardiner is no Jen Lancaster. Slim to None has a simplistic and hackneyed plot and the book itself is poorly written. The most ridiculous device however, is that the main character is ostensibly a well-known food critic, yet the recipes that are included are akin to those in a bad ladies magazine, all pudding mixes and canned mandarin oranges...how unappetizing! The chance that I'd read another book by this author is definitely slim to none...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This was an easy, yet compelling read. I found the main character very engaging and cared about what and where she was going to end up. Lots of fun moments, mixed with real thoughts, as though this author really took the time to consider her main characters predicament. There were a lot of recipes in the book which, frankly, I could have done without. Personal taste, I'll admit, but I found they got in the way of the story. It felt like the recipes were there to pad out the book - not necessary.

All in all, I'd recommend it to a friend.
:-)
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