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(Book Review) Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I am Today

Valerie Bertinelli is a multi-talented woman who has enjoyed success on multiple fronts over the course of her career.  Of course, many know her for her roles on TV shows like One Day at a Time and Hot in Cleveland.  She is also the Emmy Award-winning host of the Food Network's Valerie's Home Cooking and Kids Baking Championship.  However, her accomplishments are not limited to television:  She's the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Losing It; Finding It; as well as other books, including a popular cookbook. 

Bertinelli is well-known for her positive public persona, but like everyone, she's had her own private challenges, including a negative relationship with food for most of her life, dealing with anxiety, and other life events like marriages, divorces, and other family-based issues.  As she turned 60 years old, Bertinelli came to the conclusion that it was time to change course.  She became determined to pursue joy and self-acceptance, while also dealing with the loss of her parents and ex-husband Eddie Van Halen.  She writes about this journey in  her moving new book, Enough Already:  Learning to Love the Way I am Today.  (out now)

The book, which largely focuses on events from 2019-2021 is a thoughtful and incredibly intimate discussion of her life.  She discusses her lifelong self-esteem struggles, and how they manifested themselves through a toxic obsession with dieting, until she began working to break that connection.  Bertinelli writes about her family's multi-generational love of cooking as an activity, and how she's come to embrace that without feeling like food is a punishment.  There are also a handful of recipes scattered throughout the story.

There is also a lot of discussion about her relationship with ex-husband Eddie Van Halen after their divorce.  Some of it is about their roles as the parents of musician Wolfgang Van Halen (who released his first solo album last year.)  Their pride in their talented son pours off the page.  For all of her other worries, Bertinelli is sure they handled parenthood well. 

Some of the Van Halen discussion is about the evolution of their relationship in general over the last 20 years.  While she writes that neither she nor Eddie (who both remarried) ever considered getting back together, their connection seemed to grow stronger in many ways, until his passing in 2021. The intimacy of these discussions is breathtaking, and it could not have been an easy decision to commit them to the page for the world to read.

The tone of Enough Already is casual, and it feels like you're sitting on the couch catching up with a longtime friend.  The audience for the book is likely at least 90% female, and they will probably connect with the diet discussions on a different level than the male readers.  However, the general feeling of low self-esteem and constantly looking for flaws, is something anyone can relate to, and Bertinelli does a terrific job of talking about all of it.  The same goes for her discussions about fears and anxieties during the pandemic, and what it's like to process the loss of people you love. 

The book is honest, kind, and supportive.  The world could use much more of all of that.  Recommended.

 

Valerie Bertinelli January 20 2022An inspiring story of self-acceptance.  (pic via chicago.suntimes.com)

 

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