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Losing It And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time by Valerie Bertinelli: A Book Review

Updated on April 26, 2017
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I have admired Valerie Bertinelli ever since she was cast as young Barbara Cooper on the hit series of the seventies, ‘One Day at a Time.” I have admired her for years when I saw her in mini-series and made for TV movies. I was happy to see her again cast in a series when she guest starred on “ Touched by an Angel.” I always pictured in my mind’s eye that she and I were kindred spirits …sweet and innocent young girls. You can imagine my surprise then when I read this book, which is her autobiography and found she is not the sweet and innocent Barbara Cooper type I had always imagined her to be. In her book Valerie Bertinelli takes the reader on a journey of her life, from early childhood, through the stage of her early days as an actress in a television sitcom, through her days of dating, falling in love with rocker Eddie Van Halen, and through her tumultuous marriage and motherhood. It seemed at odds that the young and innocent Barbara Cooper would marry the likes of the lead singer of the rock group Van Halen. I used to think that somehow she toned him down and that they must have had a calm life at home. I assumed Eddie Van Halen just stepped in and out of his rock idol role when he went on tour, but I was sorely mistaken. Valerie Bertinelli was not as innocent as the young Barbara Cooper character she played on television. In real life, she was a teenager who experimented with sex, drinking and drugs like many of her peers growing up in the USA in the seventies.

I was disappointed, to say the least as I always thought we were somewhat similar regarding our age ( born in the same year), and in that our height and hair and eye coloring were almost the same as well. In “Losing It,” Ms. Bertinelli tells the story of a young and insecure girl who always felt she was overweight, and sometimes actually, “fat” when according to medical and weight watchers standards, she was right where she should have been. She tells of the days she experimented not only with drinking and drugs, but sex as well. And then moved on to one of the most famous rock stars of the century.

Her love story and marriage to Eddie Van Halen was not one of marital bliss, but instead of many ups and downs of people who’s lives in the public spotlight did not enable them to be able to concentrate on each other or their child as is the case in many marriages. And Eddie’s dependence on alcohol and drugs eventually contributed to the decision she made to leave him. The book also centers around her love, and in my opinion, almost addiction to her son “Wolfgang” ( yes, he was named after Wolfgang Mozart) whom the couple affectionately calls, “Wolfie.”

Throughout this book, weight gain and body image are a recurrent theme as Ms. Bertinelli describes how she used food as comfort when she was upset about other things in her life. Many female readers will be able to identify with this part of the book as she struggles through the same issues of dieting, weight loss and weight gain as many other women. The book ends after she successfully began as a spokesperson for the Jenny Craig Program, lost 40 pounds, met a new love, and has a new understanding of herself as a person, ex-wife, mother, and celebrity.

I found this story very interesting and quite an eye opener as Ms. Bertinelli delves into her personal history and shines a literary spotlight on what was going on in her life, both personally and professionally as she grew from a teenaged television star into a wife and mother, actress and spokesperson. Because it also related her struggles with weight gain and loss it is helpful to other women struggling with these issues. I related to well to this facet of the book because I have personally struggled with this all my adult life.

In her book Valerie Bertinelli takes the reader on a journey of her life, from early childhood, through the stage of her early days as an actress in a television sitcom, through her days of dating, falling in love with rocker Eddie Van Halen, and through her tumultuous marriage and motherhood. It seemed at odds that the young and innocent Barbara Cooper would marry the likes of the lead singer of the rock group Van Halen. I used to think that somehow she toned him down and that they must have had a calm life at home. I assumed Eddie Van Halen just stepped in and out of his rock idol role when he went on tour, but I was sorely mistaken. Valerie Bertinelli was not as innocent as the young Barbara Cooper character she played on television. In real life, she was a teenager who experimented with sex, drinking and drugs like many of her peers growing up in the USA in the seventies. I was disappointed to say the least as I always thought we were somewhat similar in terms of our age ( born in the same year), and in that our height and hair and eye coloring were almost exactly the same as well. In “Losing It,” Ms. Bertinelli tells the story of a young and insecure girl who always felt she was overweight, and sometimes actually, “fat” when according to medical and weight watchers standards, she was right where she should have been. She tells of the days she experimented not only with drinking and drugs, but sex as well. And then moved on to one of the most famous rock stars of the century. Her love story and marriage to Eddie Van Halen was not one of marital bliss, but instead of many ups and downs of people who’s lives in the public spotlight did not enable them to be able to concentrate on each other or their child as is the case in many marriages. And Eddie’s dependence on alcohol and drugs eventually contributed to the decision she made to leave him. The book also centers around her love, and in my opinion almost addiction to her son “Wolfgang” ( yes, he was named after Wolfgang Mozart) whom the couple affectionately calls, “Wolfie.” Throughout this book, weight gain and body image are a recurrent theme as Ms. Bertinelli describes how she used food as comfort when she was upset about other things in her life. Many female readers will be able to identify with this part of the book as she struggles through the same issues of dieting, weight loss and weight gain as many other women. The book ends after she successfully began as a spokesperson for the Jenny Craig Program, lost 40 pounds, met a new love, and has a new understanding of herself as a person, ex-wife, mother and celebrity. I found this story very interesting and quite an eye opener as Ms. Bertinelli delves into her personal history and shines a literary spotlight on what was going on in her life, both personally and professionally as she grew from a teenaged television star into a wife and mother, actress and spokesperson. Because it also related her struggles with weight gain and loss it is helpful to other women struggling with these issues. I related to well to this facet of the book because I have personally struggled with this all my adult life.

The reader that will enjoy this book will probably mostly be women who have admired Ms. Bertinelli throughout her years on television, and men who may have admired her looks and acting abilities. Also, women who are trying to lose weight and struggling with accomplishing this feat.

The book is currently on sale for Kindle readers for $11.99 at Amazon and also $11.99 for Nook readers at Barnes and Noble.

4 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Losing It And Gaining My Life Back by Valerie Bertinelli

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    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Jools99,

      You're right. I was disappointed when I read what her life had really been like. Oh well, it's not like she was a hero of mine or anything. Now if I had found out that Bobby Sherman had lived a life like that, I would have been heartbroken!!! ( In case you don't know who he is, he was a singer in the late 1960's/early 1970's and I had a wicked crush on him!)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Interesting review, sounds like she had an 'interesting' life so far. It is awful though when someone you admire tells all and bursts the bubble for you!

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      shiningirisheyes,

      Thanks for your comment. Have you read the book? I think you'd like it since you seem to like Valerie. It's amazing to me that her weight affected her so much during her lifetime. I always thought she was thin as a teen, but apparently she didn't.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Great review on one of my favorite characters of my childhood. She is one hell of a strong lady.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Oh, yes chrisinhawaii, you may be right about that. He sung a lot though, and one of the highlights of Valerie's life was when her son Wolfie also sang. She mad a reference to Eddie and Wolfie knowing how to sing well so I may have gotten him confused with David Lee Roth. Thanks for the welcome back. We did have a great time. I am ready to write and publish like a madwoman. Heading out to Amsterdam soon too so will have even more hubs to write! My personal goal is to hit 150 by 1/12/13...my one year anniversary with HP. we shall see how I do!

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      tillsontitan,

      Ha ha...you are so right. I have a list of 22 hubs I need to write since we came back from the cruise! So, hold onto your hats fellow hubbers...more to come! Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      So the cruise ends and the hubs begin...welcome back.

      It is always difficult to review a book but you've done a really nice job. We have visions of celebrities because of their roles and it is sometimes hard to have that vision shattered. Enjoyed the review.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • profile image

      chrisinhawaii 4 years ago

      Hi Karen,

      Welcome back! I read your other hub, and it sounds like you guys had a wonderful time on the cruise.

      I loved this show too, and she was definitely my favorite character on there. Wait, maybe Schneider. Anyways, good review! I've never done a book review yet, but I have a couple of e-friends who've done Kindle books and asked me for a review, so I guess I should start taking notes =)

      Have a great week! Chris

      (PS - I think Eddie was the lead guitarist, not lead singer)

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Mhatter99,

      Thanks so much for your positive comment. I have been away on vacation and only recently got back so am trying to get in on the tail end of the review contest. Better late than never I always say!!!

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      billybuc,

      Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. It's good to be back on Hub Pages after a 4 week absence, but it would seem I missed a lot of chances in the review challenge. Oh well.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      You did a good job reviewing this book, Thank you

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I probably wouldn't read this, but it is interesting to read about this actress. I knew she had a tough life; it seems many kids who act at an early age end up having to learn some tough lessons. Anyway, good job on the review.