- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 1, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0380717638
- ISBN-13: 978-0380717637
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 105 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,521,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder Paperback – August 1, 1992
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From Publishers Weekly
Fussell, who took up bodybuilding after attending Oxford, tells his story and examines the diets, drugs and dedication that drive the bodybuilding world. Enjoyable reading.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A powerful, funny and disturbing book, a classi piece of Americana" -- --Gene Lyons, Entetainment Weekly
"An articulate, sensitive -- and sometimes very funny account of a young man's journey to self-awareness... Don't pass it up." -- --Barbara Liss, Houston Chronicle
"One of the most oddly fascinating-and wryly funnymuckraking memoirs of the season" -- --Henry Kisor,Chicago Sun-Times
Top customer reviews
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I've never been a bodybuilder, and my own fitness levels have waxed and waned over the years, but I did go through a period where I got hooked on going to the gym and strove to lift heavier and heavier weights. My motivation, like most others, was the knowledge that I should be fitter than I was, but I did see the powerlifters and bodybuilders who strove for something beyond mere fitness, for reasons known only to them.
Fussell says that he turned to bodybuilding out of feelings of fear and vulnerability while walking the streets of New York. For reasons he explores in the book, but not quite getting to the real reason - SPOILER ALERT - he gave it up after he competed in his first bodybuilding events.
I don't want to get all Chicken Soup for the Soul or anything, but after an initial read, it seems to me that he did what he did not because of what he felt he lacked on the outside, but for a sense of manliness, for lack of a better of word, that he didn't feel on the inside. He embraced the "bodybuilder identity" and all of its outward hypermasculinity, but eventually realized its hollowness, and when the reality of competition didn't live up to his expectations, he dropped it completely. That's growth, I suppose, but the author's bio page now makes a point of him being a subsistence hunter in Montana, which seems to be another way of seeking to actualize and announce one's manhood. Why the need to call out "the author is now a subsistence hunter", rather than simply saying "the author lives in Montana", unless one is trying to make an impression?
At any rate, it is a good read, and an interesting read, but not the classic I was hoping for. Its reputation is a bit overstated.
The friends he makes in his adventure are shown as two-dimensional, but some seem to have cared about him, adding to the story. You feel sorry for them, but at the same time they seem happier than a lot of people - at least they're doing something they enjoy part of the time.
It's a fast read, after a few chapters, the pace and feel are set. By that point you'll know if you're going to like it.
I would not say this is the best written book, nor is it overly pensive; but I could not put it down. And it gives some good insight into the single mindedness of the sport. Best of all was the perspective on the show and show prep.