‘An XL Life’

You always wanted to live large.

Your closets are jammed with the finest designer threads available. You got bling and kicks that are the envy of your friends. Your wheels are crazy hot and your home is even hotter.

You’re livin’ large.


Kurt “Big Boy” Anderson was, too, and not just in what he owned: a few years ago, Big Boy weighed over 500 pounds. In the new book “An XL Life: Staying Big at Half the Size,” he tells the story of career rise, and his weight rise and fall.

Born in Chicago, growing up in Los Angeles, Kurt Anderson always loved to eat. Maybe it was because food was all the family had: Anderson’s Mama, a single mother to seven kids, was a great cook and she created meals with love but she had a hard time keeping a roof over her family’s head.

Anderson remembers having fun with his siblings and playing with his friends but food—soul food, greasy fried chicken, and his beloved McDonald’s—was his comfort. By the time Anderson was in fourth grade, he weighed 133 pounds.

He was a resourceful kid who, because of his love of hip-hop music, hustled for money and eventually got his own turntables. Anderson became a DJ for free, then for five dollars a party. He loved music and he loved clowning.

He also loved to eat. Around the time he graduated from high school and got his new name—Big Boy—he weighed around 300 pounds.

Big Boy’s talents got noticed. He worked with Rick Dees and appeared on a record. He was invited to do commercials and—following a few brief, shameful crime sprees—he became a bodyguard for a hip-hop group.

During his time with them, he weighed over 400 pounds.

He was discovered by a radio station manager at a party and was offered a great job. Soon, his name was on billboards, everybody was talking about him, and Big Boy was famous.

Then he hit 530 pounds.

Friends urged him to diet. Will Smith made a bet with him for charity. Big Boy finally decided to lose weight for his own health.

But in losing weight, he almost lost his life…

Need a little inspiration for that gotta-lose-weight New Year’s resolution? Though somewhat repetitious and occasionally a bit draggy, “An XL Life” is a pretty impressive story.

Author and DJ Big Boy is candid in this memoir about his life, his bringing up, and his fat fight. He doesn’t blame anybody but himself in this book. He doesn’t leave out a thing in his struggle with the scale, and that includes embarrassing incidents. That personal touch and the honesty make this an easy book to like.

(“An XL Life: Staying Big at Half the Size” by Big Boy, c.2011, Cash Money Content/tria, $23.9/ $27.99 Canada, 256 pages.)

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