Have you ever woken up from a drunken New Year’s Eve party and wondered just what you’d got up to the night before? In From Beer to Maternity by Julie Hodgson, that is exactly the dilemma faced by overweight Janet. It’s not until she turns up for work at the call-centre after the holiday break that she discovers, to her horror, that she has challenged the very fat Jack, from Accounts to a weight-loss competition over the coming year. The competition soon takes on a life of its own, as first her workmates, the company and then the media become caught up in the hype of this competition. Janet and Jack find a whole weird and wonderful variety of different diets foisted upon them, each month by the boss. Despite this, both become caught up in the idea of losing weight and becoming healthier. A year of hilarity follows.
I found From Beer to Maternity to be a very funny and light-hearted look at what is a serious subject – obesity. Both Jack and Janet are very real characters that I am sure many readers would have no problem at all identifying with. Although bordering on farce and caricature at times, this book by Hodgson is a very easy and satisfying read. It is typically English working-class humour – dry and witty, with a good dollop of sarcasm. My only complaint would be the book was a little short for my liking and I felt the author could have fleshed out each month a little more, with greater insight into Jack and Janet’s lives. That being said, it was a fun read and one I can definitely recommend. I particularly liked the chapters alternating between the characters. This gave equal insight into both contestants. An excellent read.