I have to say straight off that I am not a fan of Take That, except for a brief period when I was about 10 years old. I don’t dislike them at all, it’s just not my kind of music. However, I have found with autobiographies that it doesn’t really matter if you like the person or not, most people in the public eye have a fascinating life, and Gary is certainly no exception.
I really really enjoyed his book and I definitely like him now (still not my music though). If you are a big Take That fan or a Gary Barlow fan, be aware that a large part of this book is about food and his weight issues. As someone who is equally obsessed with food and equally if not more so overweight, I was fascinated and enlighted to hear about his food journey. If you were hoping to read all about the early days of Take That, then I am afraid you will be disappointed, as there is only a little of that. However, there is a lot of detail about their re-unions and later album creations and tours. He doesn’t dish the dirt on Robbie Williams, but he does explain (from his point of view) why it all fell apart, and how they got back together.
He also discusses his family, his four children (including Poppy who sadly died at birth, stillborn), and his and his wife’s struggles coming to terms with the death of little Poppy. I was so very sad to read that bit; I cannot imagine losing a child.
I was facinated to read that after Take That split up in the 90s that he had put on a lot of weight. I had no idea (though I don’t read gossip magazines). He also had an eating disorder and was utterly obsessed with food (I hear ya!). And he went on every diet imaginable. I was amazed that someone who has millions of pounds was not able to find a good diet and lose weight, and its amazing all the fads they have out there. It is sad for me because I think if a rich person cannot lose weight, what chance do I have?
I digress because he does manage to lose weight and eat healthily and maintain that lifestyle when he meets the Helmsley sisters, and they introduce him to clean eating. He then moves away from the restrictions of that and just starts cooking everything from scratch and that appears to be his aha moment. I wish I had the time to do that; but alas I am not rich.
Absolutely fascinating book that I would highly recommend if you enjoy autobiographies of famous people and/or are a foodie or struggle with your weight. I should also say that I listened to this book on Audible; and Gary reads it himself. He is a pleasure to listen to (unlike some authors!). Louise Nurding/Redknapp is case in point here (sorry), but listening to her book was actually painful.