The tough part about reviewing a memoir is not to critique the author’s story but to review how they told it. A memoir is an account from a real person so a different set of eyes is needed compared to reviewing fiction. Most of the reviews I have read of Andie Mitchell’s It Was Me All Along treated this work as fiction. Many amateur reviewers commented on the choices Mitchell made much as they would when reading a fictional piece. I understand how easy it is to do so but I feel that’s unfair to the author and I’ll strive to avoid the same path others have chosen in their reviews.
Andie Mitchell is the blogger for Can You Stay for Dinner. Mitchell has chronicled her weight loss story and offers helpful advice and recipes for her online audience who are pursuing a healthier lifestyle. It Was Me All Along is a more in depth account of the obesity which has plagued Mitchell most of her life, her journey to lose well over 100 pounds and learning to develop a healthy relationship with food. Mitchell’s story is a good one. I appreciate her story is one of striving to make healthy decisions, avoiding fad diets, and using tried and true methods such as healthy portions and exercise to achieve her goals. It many ways, primarily on her blog, Mitchell is a great example of how the average person can achieve and sustain weight loss with a healthy mindset.
Unfortunately, I did not like this book and I desperately wanted to. This book is overwritten. Mitchell uses far too many adjectives and I feel she got lost on the way to making her ultimate point for the reader. She gave her audience the ancillary details of her life such as what she ate, how much she ate, and when she ate but she does not go into much depth as to why. I felt as though Mitchell was describing someone else instead of her younger self.
A memoir requires an author to dig deep and bring the reader in. Mitchell does not do this and it’s not until the very end of the book until she reveals the cause behind her binge eating and even then, it feels like a cursory mention. Mitchell reveals she tried therapy but did not find it beneficial. At this point, I felt maybe Mitchell is not comfortable with exploring emotional matters which may explain why I felt she barely scratched the surface with sharing her journey.
I am disappointed with It Was Me All Along. Mitchell’s blog is a great resource for helping people with healthy eating, losing and maintaining weight and learning to have a healthy relationship with food. Her main lesson is self-acceptance; thin does not always equal happiness. Unfortunately her book does not have the same impact. This may be a lesson that a successful blog does not always result in a book of equal caliber. I highly recommend Mitchell’s blog as opposed to her book as a source of information and inspiration.
A review copy was provided for purposes of review.