From Beer To Maternity

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
150 Pages
Reviewed on 09/12/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

From Beer To Maternity is a humor novel written by Julie Hodgson. What could be worse than coming back to work having to face co-workers who had witnessed your descent into a glorious, full-out drunken stupor where you bet everyone and anyone that you can lose more weight in a year than that awful man from Accounting? Janet finds out when she gets back after the holidays and finds the least flattering pictures of herself and Jack from Accounting on a full-sized wall display at the call center where she works. Seems that everyone there has gotten involved in the proposed weight loss competition, and there’s not really any way for her to gracefully back out of it. All the women have placed their bets on her as their champion, 684 pounds worth, to be exact, already and counting. Janet brightened for a moment at the thought that that money was hers if she won, but not even that was a compensatory factor here. Her winning simply meant a gigantic girls’ night out to celebrate. The details of the challenge were clear: each month they would be on a different diet determined by the staff at PPI Solutions and online submissions. Janet was, already, a YouTube star. Her drunken performance, and challenge, had quickly gone viral. Being the game person that she was, and hating looking at the picture and video of that chubby woman, who couldn’t possibly really be her, Janet decided to just go for it. What would it hurt? It would, actually, change her life and in the most unexpected ways.

Julie Hodgson’s new adult humor novel, From Beer To Maternity, is a brashly funny book about fat shaming, exploitation and the efforts of two “fatties” to do the impossible while enduring a contest that gains steam with each successive month. Hodgson’s characters, especially the hapless Janet and Jack, are marvelous and her plot zings and crackles with deft comedic touches. The diets selected during the challenge range from the absurd to the historically insane as the two dieters are prompted to wear blue glasses, pray for fat loss and chew their food dozens of times before spitting it out again. The unlikely romance that hovers in the air as these two find the challenge to be a surprisingly satisfying and life-changing experience is an added bonus and a joy to behold. From Beer to Maternity is most highly recommended.

Viga Boland

If ever a book should become a movie…a super-hilarious movie… From Beer To Maternity by Julie Hodgson is it. Never have I read a book so quickly, and laughed as loudly and as often as I did with From Beer To Maternity. What Julie Hodgson creates so cleverly with words rivals the best that blurts from the mouths of stand-up comedians. Have you ever gotten so drunk that you cannot remember what you did or said the night before? That’s what happens to the severely overweight Janet from Calls - she’s a telemarketer - at a New Year’s staff event. To Janet’s shock, what she said and did was to challenge an equally overweight Jack from Accounts to a one-year weight loss battle. Trouble is when she tries to wriggle out of what her big mouth has got her into, it’s too late: videos of Janet’s challenge to Jack have gone viral on YouTube and company employees have lined up the girls’ side against the boys, each side cheering its mascot on to success, month after month, in the biggest “battle of the bulge” the world has ever seen.

Advertisers and the media become involved. Online betting on who will win reaches astronomical peaks. And while everyone else is having fun following this chaotic reality show, Janet and Jack, fuelled by their mutual dislike for each other, along with personal issues…a cheating husband for Janet and health issues for Jack…rise to the challenge and begin losing weight. Each month, they are subjected to a new wacky diet. As they bravely tackle vegan eating, juicing and fasting, wearing blue-tinted glasses…you need to read From Beer to Maternity to see how that one works…praying, going on a retreat and finally the diet to end all diets…the F-plan diet i.e. “Sex for breakfast, sex for dinner, sex for tea and sex for supper”, they discover a lot about themselves, their friends and associates, and each other.

From Beer to Maternity is one giant, rib-tickling romp that will bring needed smiles not just to others fighting their own battle of the bulge, but to anyone who could use a really good laugh right now. But be prepared for some outrageous, audacious language, along with some incredibly funny musings, eg. when Janet is thinking about the juice diet and its reliance on berries, carrots, and kale, she grizzles: “Why do so many diets involve eating things that look no different on the way in, to the way they look on the way out?”Or this motivational saying on a poster at her Thinspiration Weight Loss Group: “Do not reward yourself with food: you are not a dog.” From Beer To Maternity by Julie Hodgson is both funny and sensitive. Above all, it is enjoyable. Well done, Julie Hodgson. You just gained a new fan and follower in me!

Jessica Barbosa

Julie Hodgson’s From Beer to Maternity is a story about Jack from Accounts and Janet from Calls, two otherwise normal people who’ve found themselves in the middle of a weight losing competition against each other. It started out with a misunderstanding between them which led to embarrassing videos posted online, which led to different diet methods for every month of the competition, which somehow became national news. Through it all, Janet and Jack’s initial animosity begins to dwindle and together they face not only the challenge of eating healthier, but against being treated as dancing monkeys for their company, being shamed, insulted, and betrayed. But along the way they find happiness and maybe a little bit of love.

From Beer to Maternity gives us an interesting insight into what goes on in the minds of Jack and Janet, both of whom are having problems in holding down a healthy weight and how it affects their respective lifestyles and health. It deals with issues familiar to people struggling with their weight: How do I get better and for what? At first, Janet and Jack lacked the motivation to go through with losing weight, which many can relate to, but along the way they each found their purpose and found that being healthy also made them happy. It wasn’t easy; there were times when they gained weight instead of losing it, and times when they lost none at all, but they persevered, despite their troubles and the sometimes ridiculous diet fads people forcefully pushed them to endure. They each found the right way for them to live healthier lives and the fact that both characters never backed down, not from each other or other people’s low opinion of them, makes it an even more interesting and worthwhile read.

Grant Leishman

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 that 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.