February 18

Losing It – Helen Lederer

Losing ItMillie was at one time quite well known for various TV and radio appearances. However, she now has no money, a best friend with a better sex life than her, a daughter in Papua New Guinea and too much weight in places she really doesn’t want it.

When she’s asked to be the front woman for a new diet pill, she naively believes that all her troubles will be solved. She will have money, the weight will be gone, and maybe she’ll get more sex.

If only life was really that easy. It doesn’t take her long to realize it’s going to take more than a diet pill to solve her never-ending woes . . .


Thanks to Emma at Busy Bee for my review copy


Losing it is a big departure from my normal type of read, however, I am happy to jump to a new genre if there is a compelling reason. In this case the chance to read a novel by Helen Lederer (of whom I have been a fan since the Naked Video days) is more than enough reason for me to risk a book that will not have a murder or two (probably).

Fortunately the quirky humour I was expecting to find is there in abundance and I enjoyed the change of pace that this book presented – a story with fun at heart. Losing It was an engaging read and the awkward/hapless heroine, Millie, is a likeable character to follow.

When I was half way through Losing It I read an interview with the author in which she described her novel as ‘mid-lit’ – loved that phrase! Millie is not the ditzy thirty-something I had initially expected but a more mature 50 something with a grown-up daughter and a best friend with an overactive sezual appetite – or so the more prudent Millie believes. One of the high points of the book was Millie’s ‘tricky’ relationship with her daughter, exacerbated by the fact her daughter is in Papau New Guinea and many of their conversations need to be conducted via Skype.

Some of Millie’s conversations with her daughter (and in particular around the research that her daughter is conducting in Papau New Guinea) are screamingly cringe worthy. I really felt that Helen Lederer nailed a cross-generation dialogue where Millie is really not comfortable with the more open (and modern) outlook her daughter has.

Millie is deeply in debt and struggling to make ends meet, yet she is offered a chance at a lucrative payday when she is asked to front a campaign for a new diet pill. All she has to do to receive a handsome payout is stick to a diet, achieve a target weight and she will receive the money she needs to clear off her loans. What could be simpler?

I suspect that many of us can sympathise with the problems that are faced when weight loss is required. Indeed, as a Scottish bloke in his middling years I generally refer to my own physique as ‘sturdy.’ I share her weight-loss pain and laugh along with her ability to rationalise chocolate consumption.

Millie’s battle to shift the pounds and resist the Toblerone is full of frequent pitfalls and Helen Lederer delivers laughs a-plenty as we follow Millie from throws of despair to her weight loss highs. Millie’s support network of friends and family are a joy to read about too. Often brutally honest in their observations they can be seen dragging Millie to feng shui guru’s, colonic irrigation clinics and support meetings: each of which they genuinely believe will be of some assistance.

As I have previously mentioned, Losing It is not my normal bookish escape. However, I enjoyed the change of pace that it offered, it made me laugh aloud on several occasions and I have had 4 or 5 work colleagues ask to borrow my copy when I am done as they really like the sound of it too! All positives – this is definitely a book worthy of your attention.


Losing It is published by Pan and is available now in Paperback and online in digital format.

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Posted February 18, 2015 by Gordon in category "From The Bookshelf