living with a seal book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Self-made entrepreneur Jesse Itzler lives a comfortable lifestyle with his wife, Sara. Between the two of them, they run two successful businesses: Marquis Jet and Spanx. Jesse also has an interest in fitness and has competed in marathons. After deciding on the next marathon he wanted to run, he dragged his wife out to the race with him. One of the competitors, a solidly built African-American male, caught Jesse’s eye. He tracked down the man’s name and called him up, inviting him to live with his family and train Jesse for an entire month.

The man, known only as SEAL in Jesse’s memoir, Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet, promptly moved in and began a rigorous training with Jesse, pushing his body and mind as far as he could. Jesse had no idea what he was in for when he signed up for SEAL’s brand of training, but in the end he got so much more than he bargained for.

Although I’m mainly a fiction reader, Living with a SEAL appealed to me because I’ve recently started taking baby steps to change my dietary and fitness habits. In the last three years, I’ve lost twenty pounds twice, only to gain them all back. I started working out with an amazing trainer at my gym and have already started to see some results. But after seeing this book, I wondered what type of workouts a U.S. Navy SEAL would put an ordinary civilian through to get him in the best shape of his life.

I wasn’t expecting this book to be laugh-out-loud funny, but there were several moments that I found myself giggling through. At the same time, there were other times when I stopped to think about SEAL and what he’d witnessed fighting to protect our country. Not much is revealed about SEAL’s life, but I got a pretty good idea of his character in how he treated Jesse and his family. It was obvious to me that Jesse was more than a project to SEAL. I still want to know more about him, but at the same time half of the appeal with him is expecting the unexpected.

Living with a SEAL is the type of book that anyone looking for a fresh perspective on life will enjoy reading. It just may challenge you to meet new people, take a risk, or make an attitude or lifestyle change of your very own.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Center Street. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.