Marisa Meltzer was put on her first diet aged five: it was the beginning of a fraught relationship with food.
Jean Nidetch was a housewife from Queens who defiantly lost 70 pounds after she was mistaken for being pregnant. Taking everything she learned from this experience, in 1963 she founded Weight Watchers, a company that has shaped decades of diet culture.
When Marisa reads Jean’s obituary, she feels a moment of intense connection. Curious about the woman and her legacy, she signs up for a year of Weight Watchers; counting points, weighing in and listening to her fellow members struggle with their bodies.
This is Big is a biography of an idiosyncratic entrepreneur whose impact is still felt strongly today.
It is a history of dieting and body politics for anyone who has agonised over their weight or defiantly tried not to do so. And it is Marisa’s funny and thoughtful journey towards a different way to live in the world.