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703: How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life Hardcover – April 15, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Makin lost an enormous amount of weight slowly, carefully, and without fanfare. She now tells her deeply personal story, describing her traditional Catholic middle-class upbringing that was intensified when her family landed in an austere Canadian monastery. Separated from her parents and siblings in an environment commanding submission, Makin rebelled by stealing food. After they returned to “regular life,” her weight fluctuated under stress. Teen pregnancy and marriage found her in the habit of trying to make things better via gourmet meals. Her divorce and subsequent downward spiral in finances and health increased feelings of crushing bewilderment. Curiously, a computer provided the unforeseen turning point that brought connection and hope, and, oddly enough, pushed Makin out the door. She started eating right and losing weight while working as a house cleaner. By the time she appeared on Oprah in 2007, she had turned a corner no one expected she would reach. To say that this title is uplifting would be an understatement. Makin offers no plan or formula, just an irresistible story of great personal achievement. --Colleen Mondor

From the Author

I hope my story can help any number of people suffering from what they now perceive as overwhelming odds, tremendously high hurdles.  I am nothing more or less than anyone you'd see walking down the street anywhere in the world.  But I did discover something along this crazy, zig-zagging path of life that turned all I was sure I knew, all that was set in stone, from an existence of surrender and complete resignation, to one of self-belief and wondrous hope for a better future.  That key is there for anyone searching for a different tack upon which to set their sails...

Good Lord... If I can find my way out into the sunlight, anyone can! 


I hope you enjoy my story... It's from my heart to yours.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (April 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525951377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525951377
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,528,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What's probably going to get lost in all the hype that always comes with the subject of weight in this country is just how well written, how well organized, and how engrossing this book is. I went to bed the other night at 10, thinking I would read the first chapter. Well, the first time I even thought to look at the clock, I was 150 pages in and it was 1am! The last book to do that to me was some vampire teen book who-shall-not-be-named-because-I'm-holding-on-to-my-dignity-till-the-end. I never thought a book of this description would be so hard to put down.

Nancy is funny, clear, direct, and always honest. She doesn't beg for sympathy or, for one second, pretend that she isn't responsible for her life. She lays it all out on the table and the result is surprisingly fascinating. This is neither a maudlin tale of woe that will have you rolling your eyes nor a bunch of cheerleading, "motivational" drivel encouraging you to walk off those pounds!

You will probably hear that it's inspirational and it is. I would like to point out that it is so because it's so honest and so clear. Nancy doesn't veer off into cheap sentimentality or melodrama, even though her life story is very emotional and dramatic. It didn't make me cry so much as help me understand and that's what sets it apart.

Nancy seems surprised by what she learned in her descent into darkness and her climb out of it. She offers that information to the world in this book with clear eyes and a fresh perspective. I was surprised myself. I hope you are too.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is a memoir entitled "703: How I lost more than a quarter ton and gained a life" So I thought it was going to be a detailed account of how she lost her weight. It was not. It was her life story starting from childhood through her writing the book. The only details she gave about "How" she lost the weight was "it just started coming off".

Nancy is a great writer and if you are looking to learn more about her life then you will enjoy the book. If you are looking for the weight loss story...how it was put on and how it was lost....don't bother reading the book.
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Format: Hardcover
I admit that I picked this book up with a bit of voyeuristic guilt, wanting to know what causes a person to let herself weigh 703 pounds. The answer is complex, but also as simple as it just happened, and many of us can relate to that even if our weight is not as extreme.
The book is written in a basic, no frills , chronological fashion, with the prose style veering from style -free toward the cute and flippant at times. A little better editing would have helped tighten up some of the weaker segments of the book.
The author's recounting of her family's involvement with a religious cult is really fascinating, one of the most intertesting parts of the book. It would be tempting to draw a straight line between that traumatic experience and weighing 703 pounds, but the author does not insult us by making it so simplistic. Her weight gain cannot be blamed on any one thing, nor can her weight loss be attributed to any one thing.
Happily, this is not a how to book that advises a particular course of action- it is light on that kind of detail, which may frustrate some readers. Again, the point is that this is a complex problem with many causes and many solutions.
While very few people will ever gain or lose this much weight, there are many situations in this book that the average person can relate to. You don't have to weigh 703 pounds to have your life ruled by your weight.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book and was blown away by it. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone looking for motivation....not only to lose weight, but to get any part of their life back on track. Nancy's tale is a about her life and experiences, some of which are horrible, but in the end it's about being human and learning to love yourself for who you are on the inside - a lesson many people could stand to learn. It is not a book about "I only ate fruit and walked 5 miles a day", because there is so much more to her journey than that.

All in all, I give it 5 stars.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the interesting story of a woman's strange and unstable childhood, her years as a young wife and mother, and subsequent descent into a life of illness and isolation. The book needed a much firmer editorial hand, though; the author, quick-witted and humorous, isn't quite as hilarious as she thinks; her self-help philosophies are poorly conceptualized and even more poorly expressed in the last few chapters of the book - it's hard to grasp what her actual point *is*. (It would also have helped to have an editor who understood the subjective mood.)

I finished the book with many questions unanswered. Did her sister Francesca remain a nun? How did the rest of her family rebound from their Quebec experience? And not for nothin', with a lucrative book contract, does she still live in subsidized housing?
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Format: Paperback
703 is the true story of Nancy Makin, who, at her heaviest, weighed 703 pounds. Her life was unusual from the start. As a child, she was sent by her mother to live in a religious cult which she hated. She got out a few years later, moving back home with her family. By 16, she was both a mother and a wife. As a young adult, she began putting on weight, and eventually, lived as a prisoner in her home, struggling to move around and rarely leaving her apartment. She felt trapped, alone, and desperate. One day, her sister brings her a computer. She logs on to chat rooms and message boards, making many new friends, and finally begins to feel the connection she has longed to feel. With the new positivity in her life, she finally begins to lose the weight, regaining her life once and for all.

This book really interested me. I always see shows on TV about people that are this size and virtually immobile. A lot of times, people view them as monsters, but they are humans too, and Nancy reminds us of that. It was nice to finally get to see inside the head of one of these people I see on TV all the time. I’m reminded that we all have flaws, some people’s flaws are just more visible than others.

I thought this book was well written, and I like that Nancy chronicled much of her life, including her childhood and younger years before the weight gain. I always like to have a bit of back story, especially when it is unusual like Nancy’s. She could have written an entire book about her experiences in the religious cult, or about being pregnant at 15, and married at 16. Wow! What a life story.

A problem I had was that I was still left wondering how she got to be that size, how exactly she got to lose the weight, and how long it took her.
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