Rebecca Harrington leaves no cabbage soup unstirred in I'll Have What She's Having, her wickedly funny, wildly absurd quest to diet like the stars.
Elizabeth Taylor mixed cottage cheese and sour cream; Madonna subsisted on 'sea vegetables' and Marilyn Monroe drank raw eggs whipped with warm milk. Where there is a Hollywood starlet offering nutritional advice, there is a diet Rebecca Harrington is willing to try. Facing a harrowing mix of fainting spells, pimples and salmonella, Harrington tracks down illegal haggis to imitate Pippa Middleton, paces her apartment until the wee hours drinking ten Diet Cokes á la Karl Lagerfeld, and attempts something forbiddingly known as the 'Salt Water Flush' to channel her inner Beyoncé. Rebecca Harrington risks kitchen fires and mysterious face rashes, all in the name of diet journalism. Taking cues from noted beauty icons like Posh Spice (alkaline!), Sophia Loren (pasta!) and Cameron Diaz (savory oatmeal!), I'll Have What She's Having is completely surprising, occasionally unappetising, and always outrageously funny.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We laughed like hyenas while reading this bone-dry account of Rebecca Harrington’s attempt to emulate the diets of celebrities like Liz Taylor, Beyoncé, and designer Karl Lagerfeld. I’ll Have What She’s Having is the perfect antidote to self-loathing and body-image issues, highlighting the insanity of our cultural obsession with thinness and celebrating the life-affirming tastiness of tacos and pizza.
Novelist Harrington (Penelope) undertakes a hilariously ill-advised experiment in celebrity diets ranging from Beyonc 's master cleanse lemonade with cayenne pepper and maple syrup to Karl Lagerfeld's guzzling reliance on Diet Coke and chronic dieter Greta Garbo's "absolutely terrifying" celery loaf. The results of the notorious pretentious eating habits of Gwyneth Paltrow are surprisingly positive, despite a high price of groceries, whereas Marilyn Monroe's breakfast of whipped milk and raw eggs nearly causes a fainting spell. Victoria Beckham's "Five Hands Diet" is an exercise in despair. Fare from Liz Taylor's diet book, Elizabeth Takes Off (1987), is also particularly insane, featuring a dip made of steak juice and peanut butter. On the Sophia Loren diet, Harrington is confronted with the devastating reality of the correct serving size for pasta. While the content is mostly lighthearted and humorous, there is a palpable undercurrent of sharp feminist commentary in this endeavor, made plain in Harrington's closing remarks: "how terribly hard it is to be an ideal' woman at any time in history." Illus.