cover image The Jenny Craig Story: How One Woman Changes Millions of Lives

The Jenny Craig Story: How One Woman Changes Millions of Lives

Jenny Craig, Author John Wiley & Sons $24.95 (227p) ISBN 978-0-471-47864-5

The weight-loss guru celebrates her personal and professional journey in an autobiography that began as a journal for her children and grandchildren. In unadorned and sometimes awkward prose, Craig (nee Genevieve Marie Guidroz) tells how she and her husband built their business from a few storefronts in Australia to a company of 650 centers all over the world, where, she says, dieters can receive support and information about healthy living as part of the program designed to help them lose weight. She writes how she made it a priority to hire women in the upper level positions of the company:""My whole life, I've done everything I could to promote women's advancement and growth, both in business and in my private life."" Craig evinces a genuine enthusiasm for her life's work, even though now, at 70, she's relinquished day-to-day operation of the company. She provides an in-depth look at the ups and downs she faced over the years, including a freak accident that left her with a serious speech impediment, and what she says were a series of opportunistic lawsuits that shook her faith in the American dream. Understandably, Craig takes great pride in what she has accomplished, and she relates her story with unwavering confidence. However, the book reads too much like its earliest, most informal incarnation (which she describes as""random thoughts about my childhood, marriages, and career""), making it plodding and repetitive--in dire need of better editing. Craig spends a great deal of time explaining the technicalities of running a business, which readers looking for a straight bio will find tiresome. (But nor is this a business book.) Despite the book's shortcomings, though, the author's fans should appreciate her impressive story and delight in her anecdotes about her run-ins with celebrities, her rich lifestyle and her zest for a life of pleasure shared with family and friends.