Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs, narrated by A.J. Jacobs
Published in audio by Simon Audio, published in print by Simon & Schuster
After hospitalization for pneumonia in his forties, A.J. Jacobs realized he needed to get his act together in regards to his health, especially with his long-suffering wife Julie telling him that she had no desire to be a widow at forty-five. As he is wont to do, Jacobs decided to approach the idea of improving his health as an overblown project; not only was he going to become a healthier human being, he was going to become the healthiest person he could be, even the healthiest man in the world. With the help of an entire team of experts, and by concentrating on a single body part at a time, Jacobs began his transformative and, at times, all-consuming quest with an enthusiasm only he can muster.
Thoughts on the story:
It should come as no surprise that Jacobs was able to arrange Drop Dead Healthy in a funny and interesting way, that both provided a good deal of information and kept his story moving. After all, he has already done so successfully in both The Year of Living Biblically and The Know-It-All. Jacobs balances funny, serious, and informative very well, and this is something that continues to come out in Drop Dead Healthy.
Thoughts on the audio production:
Jacobs narrates Drop Dead Healthy himself and, while I wouldn’t necessarily advise him to make narration his career, he was the perfect choice here. If the author of a memoir is able to narrate with emotion and enthusiasm – but without getting overly emotionally involved in any painful memories – it often works well, and such was absolutely the case here. At one point, I was impressed with just how much enthusiasm Jacobs was able to insert into the phrase “Chapter 2,” and his verve never waned from there. He is open and candid, with enough ability to poke fun at himself that the listener doesn’t feel voyeuristic, even when he discusses his and his wife’s sex life.
I love A.J. Jacobs and, having read his previous books in print, am certain that Drop Dead Healthy would be fabulously enjoyable in that medium, but his narration adds just a little something extra to the story that makes Drop Dead Healthy a must-listen. Highly recommended.
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