Misadventures in the search for wellness
About the Author
Brigid Delaney is a journalist for Guardian Australia and a travel writer. She has previously worked as a lawyer and was a journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald, The Telegraph in London, and CNN.
I first came across Brigid when she was a guest at the Bendigo Writers Festival in 2017. This book had been released earlier that year and was the topic of her talk at the festival. With my interest in health and wellness, including exercise fads and food fads, I immediately marked her session as ‘must attend’. She didn’t disappoint and provided many laughs for her audience. At the festival bookshop, I noticed the striking yellow cover of Wellness was catching everyone’s attention. I was lucky enough to get a copy before it sold out, but to my regret, I didn’t queue up at the author’s centre to have the book signed.
About the book
Feeling overweight, unhealthy and anxious, Brigid Delaney decides to use herself as a guinea pig and try out some of the health fads, both mainstream and more alternative, that we are constantly told will transform our lives and make us happy and healthy. Some of those tried were the horrifying 101 day fast, colonics, many types of yoga, silent retreats and meditation, group psychotherapy and much more.
Brigid travelled the world to participate and gather information about these methods that are meant to improve our health and wellbeing and are touted to help us to lose weight and keep calm. It seems that everyone is trying to sell the ‘Wellness Dream’. Brigid’s experiences took her to monasteries and health farms and hiking trails, just to pick out a few.
There is also a serious side to the book as the author presents the facts and outcomes of many of these fads.
The questions asked in the book are:
Why do so many of us swing from indulgence to detox and back again?
Is it possible to integrate good habits into your daily life?
What does our obsession with wellness say about us?
Why do you smell so bad when you haven’t eaten in seven days?
I experienced many emotions as I read this book. I laughed and cried, sometimes both at the same time. I felt horrifed at the thought of the 101 day fast. I wanted to shout to the author “don’t do it!” Brigid is very honest as she describes her experiences. Her honesty were the cause of my laughter and tears.
Who should read this book
Anyone with an interest in health and fitness or modern day trends, would enjoy this book. If you have experienced any of the fads, I’m sure you would identify with the authors experiences. Those interested in health and fitness would likely be aware of most of the fads covered in the book, but the story of Brigid’s experiences, make it well worth re-visiting them. You will be horrified at the extremes some people will go in the never ending search for perfect health and the perfect body.
Don’t just take my word for it
High praise indeed featured on the front and back cover:
- ‘One suspects Brigid Delaney could write about flossing her teeth and be funny and interesting’ – ANNABEL CRABB
- ‘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’ – JUDITH LUCY
- ‘Brigid Delaney is a fearless, sane guide into the bizarre heart of our modern obsessions. This will make you groan in horror as much as it’ll make you laugh out loud’ – BENJAMIN LAW
Published in 2017 by Nero, and imprint of Schwartz Publishing Pty Ltd