The Big Skinny Review

Editor's Review: 3.8 / 5.0

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There are many types of diet and fitness programs available. In fact, there are so many options available it can be difficult for a dieter to know where to begin. Those that focus on exercise, nutrition, and supplements are the norm. The Big Skinny by Carol Lay is a bit different. Instead of offering a guidance system, she offers a reflective recollection of her history as a dieter and what worked for her. Her book is actually a graphic novel, and is both illustrated and written by Lay. The advice offered in the book is not rigid or formulaic, instead it is more like listening to a friend recount stories about their personal struggle.


Carol Lay was born in California in 1953. She received a degree in art and after working in various capacities as an artist found her true calling as a creator of comics. Throughout her early years she struggled with her own weight. It is these struggles she draws upon, both figuratively and literally, in her book. The desire to share her triumph with others through her art and her experiences led to the creation of the book.


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Product Features


The pictures in The Big Skinny depict how Lay looked, the foods she ate, and her obstacles as she made her weight loss journey. The message of healthy eating and exercise is portrayed through amusing semiautobiographical antidotes that are entertaining enough to be a comic book. There are several suggestions, given as part of the narrative, on the best ways to eat and exercise. There is a compendium at the back of the book that provides calorie charts and a few recipes.


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  • Funny
  • Uplifting
  • Inexpensive




  • Not a weight loss guide.
  • Not an exercise guide.
  • Critics note that the author was never truly overweight.
  • The recipes that are included are a bit unrealistic.
  • Weight loss advice is from personal experience and not necessarily backed by science.




The Big Skinny would be particularly helpful for those just beginning their weight loss journey or for those who have been trying to lose weight and need a bit of encouragement. The book is funny and uplifting and the graphics are well drawn. However, if one is looking for more than an uplifting dieting read it will be a disappointment. While there is some advice, it is not a weight loss guide or a fitness guide. This would be a good book to get in addition to an actual weight loss or fitness program, but should not be used as a replacement for those products.

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