Tim Noakes gets it in the neck – Kelly Ansara reviews Death by Carbs by Paige Nick

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By Kelly Ansara for the Sunday Times

Death By Carbs

Death by Carbs

Paige Nick

**** (5 stars)

“I was out with a friend (probably eating carbs), and she said, ‘I could kill Tim Noakes.’ I replied, ‘Take a number, stand in line,’” says Paige Nick, explaining how she got the idea for

Death by Carbs

. “There’s very little grey area when it comes to Tim Noakes and his

The Real Meal Revolution

. People either love him or hate him, and are super-verbal about it.”

In Nick’s breathlessly funny new book it turns nasty for dieting guru Professor Tim Noakes – he is found dead in his home. Nick had to get permission from Noakes to include him in her novel.

“You die on the first page, you should probably read it before you decide,” Nick told Noakes when she sent him the manuscript for approval.

In real life,

The Real Meal Revolution

(which promotes the Banting diet: low carbs, high fat) has sold more than 200 000 copies. “Banting has had such a unique and divisive reaction in South Africa. There aren’t a lot of topics, besides politics or religion, which inspire this kind of fervour,” Nick says. “I wanted to examine as many different sides of this revolution as possible, from the fans, to the detractors, to the medical fraternity, to the jealous people in publishing and everyone in between. I didn’t want to take a side, but rather present as many different angles as possible.”

Nick shows this slice of South African life superbly by the list of suspects in her novel. There’s the widow, who now that the professor is dead can conveniently sell her “endorsed” meal plans; the ex-publisher who foolishly turned down

The Real Meal Revolution

; a CEO of SnackCorp who desperately wants carbs to come back into dieting fashion again; and Noake’s co-authors, stepping into the spotlight now that he is dead. Even the detective, Benny September, admits to having wanted to kill the professor as he was forced to follow the Banting diet by his wife.

Death by Carbs

cleverly pokes fun at banters and anti-banters by plunging the reader into a parallel reality with scarily plausible Facebook conversation threads. “I wrote myself into one of the Banting Facebook groups, and documented some of my journey. I began Banting when I started researching the book. I wanted to show that I wasn’t just making fun of them, but coming at it from a place of understanding,” Nick says.

It’s not a fluffy read (it’s sharp and satirical), but it’s slim enough to digest easily in one sitting – it doesn’t matter if you are Banting or not. As Nick says, “I hope my readers have a good laugh, regardless of what side of the revolution they fall on. That’s the no. 1 aim of this book.”

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This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at bookslive.co.za

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