I never knew I liked memoirs until I picked up Lindsay Frucci’s The Pig and Me. When she contacted me about her new book, I thought it would be filled with the nuances of running a business. But I love those delicious little fat-free brownies, so why not give it a chance? Little did I know, this rollercoaster ride of a book had me in its grip from page one all the way to the epilogue. This is the first time in a long time I have actually read a book in one sitting. Seriously guys, it’s just as good – and as addictive – as those No-Pudge brownies!
It all begins one warm summer morning when Lindsay, a forty-something stay-at-home-mom, realized her jeans were fitting a little too snug. Bogged down by financial stress and a demanding real estate job, she knew she needed to do something big to help her family recover from bankruptcy… and lose some weight in the process. While ruminating about her financial woes and weight gain, a light bulb flashed above her head: She needed to build a better brownie.
After turning her kitchen into a mad scientist lab filled with mixing bowls, pans and batches of brownies, she discovered a key ingredient that made her healthy brownies taste sinfully delicious: yogurt. She knew she had to share her brownies with the world when her friends and family all agreed that they tasted just as good – if not better – than the fat-laden gooey goodness she used to make with gobs of butter and chocolate chips.
On a leap of faith, she decides to embark on the biggest and most challenging journey of her personal and professional life. When she announced her new business endeavor to her husband, he was unenthused to say the least.
“You’re finally making enough money to pay the bills,” he says with suppressed anger. “Why start a business you know nothing about?”
“I can learn,” she said with naively foolish yet stubborn certainty. “I can do this.”
And so begins Lindsay’s quest to make No Pudge Brownies a household name, not an easy feat for a busy mom with very little knowledge of the business world. Plus it doesn’t help when your own husband isn’t in your corner. Armed with a batch of brownies and whole lot of moxie, Lindsay sets forth into the cutthroat food industry by wowing her very first business consultant. When he advised her to stop the silly brownie business and go back to mothering her children, she almost called it quits. But before she could scurry out of the building like kicked dog, in walks her soon-to-be hero, Bob Fox. A retired business executive from General Mills, this guy knows what sells. And after taking a bite out of one of her brownies, he knew she was sitting on a goldmine.
Teaming up with Bob and his colleague (another retired food industry exec) Jay Albert, Lindsay learned the how-to’s of owning and operating a diet-friendly brownie company. These two men, who she calls “her angels,” helped her package, sell and market her bags of brownies, which involved countless hours of food demonstrations, stock room deliveries, research and number crunching.
From her first food demo at the local grocery store, to the creation of her pink smiling pig logo, to her very first fancy foods trade show, these two wonderful men were there for her through thick and thin. I don’t know if it was divine intervention or what – but I have a feeling Bob and Jay came into her life for a reason. And throughout the book, you’ll see a number of people swoop in to help this brave entrepreneur overcome some really tough situations.
Like a cheerleader on the sidelines, I found myself whooping with glee when she conquered obstacles like catching the interests of food industry big wigs like Weight Watchers, Trader Joes or Ben & Jerry’s. One of my favorite “take that!” moments was when her husband found her pink smiling pig logo smiling back at him from the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Boo Yeah! I was also riveted by her personal struggles like taking care of her aging father, raising two kids while juggling a high-stress job, and dealing with tension (aka the 800-lb gorilla) between her and her husband.
On a personal note, I grew up hearing “you can’t” by the people who had the biggest influence on me. If I listened to them, who knows what kind of path I would have taken in life? Although I have no interest in making a name for myself in the business world, this book really inspires me to go ahead and take that leap of faith into the wonderful world of book publishing. At the risk of sounding like a self-help guru, I must point out that life is short, so why take the path of least resistance? Whether you plan to become a novelist, build a business empire, or climb Mount Everest – this book will give you a good kick in the pants!
I should also add that The Pig and Me was not picked up by those persnickety publishing houses, so Lindsay is counting on her readers to spread the word. I’m hoping that – just like her surprisingly delicious fat-free brownies – this book will get picked up by someone important and will end on the New York Times bestsellers list. Considering that this is a self-published book by a first-time author, I wasn’t expecting too much in terms of writing. Boy was I wrong! Chock-full of humor, witty dialogue and insightful prose, this book is very well written and full of surprises – even until the very last page! Lindsay is a very talented writer, and I hope to see more books by her in the future.
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Giveaway ends Dec. 31.