Overall this is a good read that gives you insight into the world of bodybuilding and the array of dysfunctional characters that inhabit this world. I was disappointed to see the lag in the author's ultimate action to leave the "sport" when the seeds of doubt were sewn well before his 2nd and final bodybuilding show. It was quite a disappointment, for an Oxford graduate, in the midst of major dysfunctional world to continue to pursue this mindless dream. I can firmly reach the conclusion that there is hardly a spec of intelligence in the "sport" by bodybuilders themselves. Outside the world of bodybuilding and lifting weights, these bodybuilders hardly excel at anything else beyond selling steroids, doing porn films, running a gym, selling gym equipment, creating another supplement line full of false promises, or pilfering some bogus clothing line. Arnold Schwarzenegger, most bodybuilders' god, is the exception of course. But he is a rare event and there are no others like him. Furthermore (the author himself discovers this as well), anyone with half a brain would see the correlation with mass doses of steroids and severe health problems in the future. I would rate this 5 stars, but the author felt the need to write this like Canterbury Tales and fill the pages with gross exaggerations.
At age 26, scrawny, Oxford-educated Samuel Fussell enetered a YMCA gym in New York to escape the terrors of big city life. Four years and 80 lbs. of firm, bulging muscle later, he was competing for bodybuilding titles in the "Iron Mecca" of Southern California--so weak from intense training and starvation he could barely walk. MUSCLE is the harrowing, often hilarious chronicle of Fussell's divine obsession, his search for identity in a bizarre, exxentric world of "health fascists," "gym bunnies" and "muscleheads"--and his devout, single-minded acceptance of illness, pain, nausea, and steroid-induced rage in his quest for the holy grail of physical perfection.