Behind the success of vegan bestseller Skinny Bitch

February 07, 2008

[image: Victoria Beckham]Somehow a diet book that is unapologetically vegan has sold more than 850,000 copies! It has been on the New York Times best seller list (advice book category) for 29 weeks and is currently in the top spot. It is Skinny Bitch, a combination of girl power, tough love and gross-out tales from the slaughterhouse written by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.

Sales took off after Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, was seen buying a copy in June 2007. The resulting media sensation help boost sales through the roof (from 60,000 to 850,000 copies) a full two years after its release. Beckham is über thin, despite having had three children. She has been reported to be following a vegan diet, one based on edamame (baby soybeans), strawberries, seaweed shakes and miso soup. But according to a segment on the Today Show that includes an interview with the authors of Skinny Bitch (click here to watch), Beckham does eat some fish.

[image: Skinny Bitch in the Kitch book cover] An article in the New York Times talks about how the authors use humour and ferocious conviction to tap into the anger and frustration many women feel about food, dieting and body image. Passages from the book include: “You are a total moron if you think the Atkins diet will make you thin”; “Soda is liquid Satan”; “Eggs are high in saturated fat and completely disgusting when you think about what you are eating.”

Julie, who signed up to do the Veggie Challenge two days ago, writes: “Listening to the Skinny Bitch audio CD really gets a girl thinking about the crap we eat.”

A follow-up cookbook, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, has also become a best seller. It is written in the same humorous tone.

The Globe and Mail recently printed a sample recipe and interview with co-author, Rory Freedman. Here are some highlights:

 [image: Rory Freedman] On being shameless about mock meat:

“…we like meat – it tastes great. We’re not a bunch of weirdos, the only thing that separates vegetarians from meat eaters is that we don’t want animals to be tortured and slaughtered so that we can eat them.”

On concerns about relying too heavily on processed meat substitutes:

“I think this cookbook is more for people who are just transitioning … than for die-hard vegans. I don’t eat as many fake meat products as I did when I first transitioned 14 years ago.”

On concerns about grossing out readers:

There are two or three references to dead animals in the cookbook. For example, one  recipe is titled: ‘Chicken’ Noodle Soup: Just like Mom used to make – minus the pieces of decomposing, rotting chicken carcass.

“By the time the food is made and they’re sitting down to eat I don’t think they’re going to be thinking about dead, rotting, decomposing chicken flesh. Especially since they’re not going to be eating it.”