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Book Review of Bertha-Size Your Life!, By Jane Carroll

Updated on June 19, 2013

Bertha-Size Your Life!

I do not often use exclamation points within a book review, but Jane Carroll's 2005 book Bertha-Size Your Life! calls for it in many ways.

The exclamation point is in the title and also is in my mind as I read this book. The novel is a fun read that will have you laughing out loud as you read one moment and then saying "Aha!" the next moment. (See? Another exclamation point, I could not help myself).

Jane Carroll's Novel

Bertha-Size Your Life
Bertha-Size Your Life | Source

The Packaging

I read the paperback edition rather than the e-book, which is also currently available.

The book cover is bright green and features a drawing of a lady in neon clothing who sits on the back of a car. Oh yes, the car is bright pink in colour. Very eye-catching and unusual for a book! Many covers are white or have pops of colour, rather than an all-out rainbow like Berth-Size Your Life!

As I began to read Jane Carroll's novel, I understood the significance of the bold colours. Bertha is one of the main characters in the novel. She wears neon, outrageous outfits throughout the events described in the chapters. She is often unpredictable in what she says and does during the adventures.

The cover must be Bertha's doing! She is a powerful personality, after all. Readers will realize this woman means business by the end of Chapter One.

The chapters are relatively short, a three to five pages for many of them. I enjoyed this feature as I often do not have a lot of time to devote to reading books. I was able to finish a chapter and then begin the next chapter the following day. I personally do not like leaving a novel half-way through a chapter, so the organization worked well for me.

Illustration by Cindy Collins

Bertha in Bertha-Size Your Life!
Bertha in Bertha-Size Your Life!


Did I mention the illustrations?

There are black and white drawings throughout Bertha-Size Your Life! similar to the image on the front cover. The novel is illustrated by Cindy Collins. Cynthia Dendy is now the illustrator's name and, on a fun note, she is also Jane Carroll's sister!

The drawings are another great feature to bring the character of Bertha to life. While Jane Carroll's writing creates a lively woman, we also get to see her in movements associated to what is read. For example, one illustration has her in a cheer-leading outfit.

No, I will not spoil the details for anyone who has not yet read the book.

Who Is Bertha?

Bertha is a character not to be forgotten. I am sure she thinks that herself; Jane Carroll writes her motions and dialogue so clearly that it is hard to believe she is not a real person. Perhaps Jane Carroll has based her on a real woman she has met.

In each chapter, Bertha offers a funny look at life with a lesson to show the other main character in the book. The other character is the "I" in the novel; the book is told from the first-person point of view. So, what does exactly does Bertha do?

In the chapter titled "Closet Cleaning", Bertha wears purple spandex shorts and a red bandana as she cleans the closet of the other character. The lesson learned in this chapter is that when the closet is emptied but discarding unused items, "something has to come along to fill it up" (page 70).

As with lessons in other chapters, this lesson applies to larger life principles. When we rid ourselves of the clutter that is taking up room in our lives, we make room for new relationships and new opportunities to come our way.

The Messages

The "Closet Cleaning" Chapter of Bertha-Size Your Life! is as smartly written as the other parts of the book. Each chapter carries its own lesson that applies to the two main characters and that the reader can apply to their own lives.

Often, I put the book down after a few pages to ponder the life lessons. I applied the dialogue to my own life, as a way to make my life more positive. The lessons are positive and light in spirit.

Often, I laughed as I read the book. Note here that I was often alone as I read the pages! Some parts of Jane Carroll's book are funny because of Bertha's neon clothing, while other sections are so witty in the writing style. Along with humour, the lessons shine through for readers.

I highly recommend Bertha-Size Your Life! as a fun read to relax you after a stressful day or as a book to help you reflect on lessons about life.

The Author

Jane Carroll
Jane Carroll

Jane Carroll

Jane Carroll is currently working on a follow-up novel to Bertha-Size Your Life!

She has been in the nursing field for over 30 years. She is a Registered Nurse, a Life Coach, and Reiki Master. She is also a mother and grandmother.

I would like to add to her Biography that she is a witty writer and that this book is a great, fun read. Oh, and Bertha has asked that wear a bright-pink boa for the rest of the day!


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    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Jackie, the great thing about this novel is that it's a light read. The chapters are short and there are even illustrations. I do hope you laugh like I did!

      @Teaches, yes the lessons in the chapters are uplifting and Jane Carroll has a kind spirit in her writing. Great observation!

      @Lord, Excellent and do let me know what you think of the book. Oh dear here comes another exclamation mark! hehe. Thanks for stopping by here.

      @Docmo, your comment is silly and goes well with the humorous read! Nice to see you Docmo :)

      @dghbrh, Glad to help suggest a good read. I appreciate the kind comment.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow, this make two books today now I have to read, when will I ever find time!? Thanks for the review!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I think i would find the character in the book enjoyable. The sketches represents a normal woman's profile. Carroll looks like a great author with a great attitude.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 

      6 years ago from New York

      Great review!! Ops! Couldn't help it like Docmo. I'm still an old fashion avid reader, but on planes I dip my fingers into my Nook. Thanks for the introduction, and happy to bookmark Jane Carrol's novel.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      6 years ago from UK

      Great review- the book must have really entertained you from the sound of this review. Thanks for sharing. I try not to put an exclamation mark but can'!!!

    • dghbrh profile image


      6 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      thanks for recommendation....i will search for it for sure.....very good review indeed, Christy.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Trinity, hehe! Ooops there I did it too... what a witty remark and I thank you for reading. I hope you take time for the light read :)

      @penlady, Aw, thank-you for stopping by to connect with me today. Take care.

      @prairieprincess, Yes Bertha provides me with laughs when I need them. Thanks for the positive words!

      @Joaniebaby, Right on! Jane Carroll is currently working on her second novel and I am excited :) Let me know what you think, I would love to hear back after you read it.

      @Marc, You know *hangs head in shame* I have yet to read the novel or see the movie. I really should give it a try! Do you read often (outside of the internet)?

      @Jane, I am so pleased that you like the review. I admire your ability to write and am honoured to know you. Thank YOU!

      @Curiad, Glad you like the review, thanks for taking time to stop by here.

      @Bill, You will laugh along with Bertha :) Thanks for taking time to comment here my friend.

    • Trinity M profile image

      Trinity M 

      6 years ago

      Sounds like a fun read. I’m always on the lookout for a good book. Thanks Christy for the recommendation! Oops! I think your exclamation marks rubbed off on me too :)

    • penlady profile image


      6 years ago from Sacramento, CA

      Hi Christy,

      You did a great job on writing this book review. This book sounds so interesting that it’s hard NOT to be interested in it. Good hub!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Christy, great job on the book review! It sounds like a very entertaining read and a character that would brighten your day.

    • joaniebaby profile image


      6 years ago

      What a great book review. I am definitely going to see if our local library has this book. Thanks for another great job, Christy.

    • Marc Babineau profile image

      Marc Babineau 

      6 years ago from Cornwall, Ontario, The Seaway City

      Great hub! You really should try doing one of these on Tom Robbins, the king of the metaphor! (Skinny legs and all, Even cowgirls get the blues, etc)

    • profile image

      Jane Carroll 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for the great review, Christy! You even make me want to read Bertha-Size and I wrote it! Thanks're the best!

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 

      6 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      A great review Christy, Thank you for sharing this!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the recommendation and a very good book review. I'll search it out and give it a try. Good job Christy!


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