Synopses & Reviews
One man’s humorous and heartfelt journey through his year-long attempt to regain his health and change his life.
Where does one draw the line between being a lifelong foodie and a food addict? Edward Ugel is 36 years old and weighs 263 pounds, or as he likes to think about it: 119 kilograms. I'm with Fatty chronicles Ugel’s attempt to follow doctor’s orders and lose fifty pounds or risk dropping dead while standing in line at Popeyes. It details the complex love triangle between himself, his wife, and all the crispy, braised, barbecued, and sautéed goodies that he’s been feeding himself ever since he could say the words “to go.”
Ugel sets off on his yearlong journey to figure out how to live in a world without dim sum, smoked Italian meats, and the pleasure of cooking whatever and however he wants. He spends his days torn between two worlds: nutritionists and personal trainers versus pancetta and Häagen-Dazs. It’s a war of attrition—each side has its share of victories and utter failures.
Lovers of narrative nonfiction will relish this contagiously readable book that looks back at Ugel’s complicated history with food, obesity, and the ruinous effects this lifelong relationship has had on him. Filled with humor, ultimately this is a book about the private hell of being fat in America and about the fragile male psyche and the seldom-discussed issue of male body image.
I’m with Fatty is a funny, candid, raw, and personal story of weight loss from the male perspective. It is a narcissistic battle of wills between the author who loves food more than oxygen and the man who knows that his very life depends on the success of his “Fatty Project.”
I’m with Fatty takes the reader along on a difficult, frustrating, embarrassing, and inspiring journey, one that is the last great hope of a man desperate to save his own life—or at least own a pair of pants that fits.
“We tend to think of fat women in this culture as tragic. But a fat man? Now, that’s comedy! Except when it's not. What if the fat man-who is, admittedly, a very funny fellow-is a depressed and emotional eater who, at 36, doesn't want to leave the house and, after being diagnosed with sleep apnea (he snores like a rhino), faces the humiliating and scary prospect of wearing a mask with a chin strap to bed? So Ugel poses a challenge for himself: Drop the 50 lbs. he'd put on the past year in the same amount of time. "I wasn't looking to go on Oprah in a bikini . . . I just wanted the American dream: to sleep like a normal guy again so my wife could see my face when she refused to have sex with me." What follows is a witty account of colonics and juice fasts, punishing workouts with his trainer, and his five-day bender on Chinese and Thai takeout when his wife leaves town. The ending is predictably upbeat, and we cheer for him. But he, and we, know the truth: He is locked in a lifelong battle with Crispy Beef and Peking duck.”
Midwest Book Review, January 2012
“Enlightening and hilarious reading.”
One mans humorous and heartfelt journey through his yearlong attempt to regain his health and change his life.
For most people, weight loss is spurred by a pair of tight pants or a photo that shows one too many chins. But Edward Ugel isnt most people. Ugel was forced to lose weight after his wife recorded him snoringa sound so deafeningly horrible that his turncoat” doctor made him wear a CPAP machine to sleep every night. Thats when Ugel, weighing in at 263 pounds (or, as he likes to describe it; 119 kilograms), realized he had to lose 50 pounds in order to live (literally) and sleep like a normal guy, and so his wife could see his face when she refused to have sex with him.
Im with Fatty is Ugels honest and wickedly funny chronicle of a father, husband, and all-around-food-obsessed man as he attempts to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks. A foodie who cant remember the last time he exercised but can describe every bite of his last Chinese takeout meal, Ugel is a typical guy. But Im with Fatty is a far cry from a typical weight-loss memoir, a category usually reserved for perky, inspiring fatties-turned-aerobics instructors who want to sell their brand of you-can-do-it.
For Ugel, losing 50 pounds isnt about looking good at the beach. Its about trying to save his life and figuring out how to live in a world without dim sum, smoked Italian meats, and the daily pleasure of cooking whatever, and however, he wants. Ugel merges this love of food with his all-male sensibility as he sets off on a yearlong journey to answer the questions, Where does one draw the line between being a lifelong foodie and a food addict?” and Can I really live without bacon?”
About the Author
Edward Ugel is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Money for Nothing: One Mans Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions (Collins, 2007). He is a resident blogger for the Huffington Post, and a contributing writer for the New York Times and Washingtonian magazine.