Review: Drop Dead Healthy
I love A.J. Jacob’s work. I have read My Life as an Experiment and My Year of Living Biblically with great enthusiasm, and I was very much looking forward to Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection. For those unfamiliar with Jacobs, he tends to immerse himself in a particular project or lifestyle, for example in My Year of Living Biblically he committed himself to following all of the Bible’s moral codes for one year and then wrote about it. In case you can’t see where this is going, the premise of Drop Dead Healthy is that he spent two years committing himself to becoming as healthy as possible. Some call his approach “stunt journalism”, but I think of it more along the lines of experiential writing.
I think there’s a lot to like about the book. Jacobs is extremely quotable, and in places laugh out loud funny. (I am fairly certain I annoyed my roommates with the sheer number of times I insisted on reading passages out loud.) He tries things that seem crazy, and that I may never make time for, and then he’s candid about his experiences. It’s fun to follow his journey, this time to health. But it felt like it was missing something.
The last few books have at least had some kind of summary about the experience. You knew where he came down on things at the end of the book. But Drop Dead Healthy just kind of dropped off. The lengthy appendix lists some of his advice in some areas…but honestly, I don’t really care. I just want a synopsis of his experience. What things did he wish he hadn’t tried? Which things will stay a part of his life forever? Did he like the challenge, or regret it?
The writing is strong, the concept is good, it just needed a little tying up at the end. I think Drop Dead Healthy is worth reading if you’re looking for something that will make you laugh and provide you with information at the same time.