Picks and Pans Review: Valerie's Rocky Road

updated 03/10/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 03/10/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

LOSING IT
by Valerie Bertinelli |

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REVIEWED BY CAROLINE LEAVITT

MEMOIR

Come on, who doesn't adore actress and Jenny Craig spokeswoman Valerie Bertinelli? From her stint as America's sweetheart Barbara Cooper on One Day at a Time to her 20-year marriage to rocker Eddie Van Halen, she's always come across as the girl most likely to have it all. But as this addictive, photo-packed autobiography shows, everyone loved Bertinelli—except perhaps Bertinelli, who was always painfully shy and insecure about her looks.

After marrying Van Halen, she began drinking and partying with him and eating for solace—even as her weight increased. Their marriage soon began to fray from drug use and cheating on both sides, as well as Van Halen's refusal to stop smoking, even after he'd been stricken with mouth cancer. Bertinelli found comfort, though, in her fierce love for her son Wolfie and ultimately vowed to change her life from within.

Bertinelli isn't a literary stylist, but her writing is as movingly honest and intimate as a heart-to-heart talk. As she chronicles her work and love life, and her very public weight loss with Jenny Craig, readers will root for this strong woman (now a size 6) who has more than earned her "happily ever after."

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