Bridget Jones meets AJ Jacobs in Wellmania, an in-depth, laugh-out-loud exploration of the best and worst of the wellness industry.
Cold-pressed juices, “clean” eating, colonic vacations, mindfulness apps, and Paleo: health-care trends and miracle diets seem to be more plentiful each year. But do any of these tactics actually work? What does “wellness” even mean?
In Wellmania, longtime journalist Brigid Delaney tackles the good, the bad, and the just-a-little-ridiculous of the wellness industry, using herself as the guinea pig. Starting with a brutal 101-day fast, she leaves behind her thirty-something-year-old lifestyle of late-night parties and all-day hangovers to test the things that are supposed to make us healthy and whole: yoga classes, meditation, CBT, Balinese healing, silent retreats, group psychotherapy, and more. Writing with self-deprecating wit and refreshing honesty, she sorts through the fads and expensive hype to find out what actually works, while asking, What does all this say about us? Is total wellness even possible? And why do you start to smell so bad when you haven’t eaten in seven days? According to comedian Judith Lucy, the result is “a bloody entertaining read that leaves you wondering whether you want to do yoga or get mindlessly drunk and despair at the state of the world.”
"I laughed so hard, I choked on a doughnut reading this book. I'm so glad Brigid Delaney tried all of this crazy stuff so I never have to." —Jen Mann, New York Times bestselling author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat
Delaney, a lifestyle journalist, takes the reader through her 12-year search for wellness in this amusing memoir. She belatedly realizes that navel-gazing may not be healthy as she relentlessly pursues all that the wellness industry offers in sections titled after the holy trinity of wellness goals: "Clean" (eating healthily), "Lean" (getting into shape), and "Serene" (finding happiness). In "Clean," the reader joins her in a grueling 101-day fast in Australia, her homeland. She combines vivid descriptions, such as of a required daily herb drink described as resembling, in taste, flat beer with 10 cigarettes mixed in; hysterical accounts, such as of her stealing breakfast from a business associate; and medical explanations of what's really happening to her body. "Lean" looks at the benefits of daily yoga as well as its drawbacks, such as rampant consumerism and commodification. The meatiest section, "Serene," explores meditation retreats, from a spooky monastery to an off-the-wall new age retreat where psychotherapy is practiced. Delaney is generous in sharing her experiences and skillful in weaving them into reported facts, but stingy in doling out conclusions. She offers only two paragraphs of concrete advice, which basically boils down to "build a routine." Still, the book gives copious examples of how one could start doing that.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Wanted a novel on debunking health and wellness industry
I’m very much so fascinated with the health and wellness industry, as I was a part of it for several years. I hate to admit that my participation in it was far from healthy; that is, I developed even more disordered eating as I tried to keep up with the Instagram gurus and Youtube influencers.
I loved this read. I loved the way Brigid wrote her stories. It’s not quite what I’m looking for, in regards to debunking health and wellness the way the podcast The Dream, season 2, does (that’s what I was really going for), but that’s just on me, not on Brigid.
I will say, I got a bit bored during the Serenity section, as it’s just not as relatable to me as I haven’t gotten into those practices. Again, this is nothing against Brigid, as it is my personal opinion. I think it’s far more interesting now, in 2020, in the midst of COVID19, reading what was unfolding in 2016, how far we’ve come.