**spoiler alert** I finished this book a couple of days ago and am still processing and digesting. Wow, just wow. A radical book about self love. I lo**spoiler alert** I finished this book a couple of days ago and am still processing and digesting. Wow, just wow. A radical book about self love. I loved the way the author wrote about and critiqued issues like diet culture, fat shaming, beauty standards, objectification of women, porn and rape culture, etc. I feel like it's one of those books I could read over and over again and find a tidbits of information or parts of plots that may seem insignificant at first glance but are actually so strategically thought out and placed within the larger story.
I am still digesting parts of the Jennifer plot. Loved how it was essential to the critique of many of the issues already listed, but trying to figure out how I feel about some of the violence.
None of the themes in this book are radically new to me. But the way it was written, the journey of Plum and the people in her life, this is definitely one of my new favourite books. It's one of those books that opens your eyes and transforms your life - in how you value yourself, and value those around you....more
In high school and university, I loved reading Brian Haig's Sean Drummond books. I remember loving the style of writing, Drummond's sarcasm, and the mIn high school and university, I loved reading Brian Haig's Sean Drummond books. I remember loving the style of writing, Drummond's sarcasm, and the mystery thrill. Maybe my reading tastes have developed, but this book was so disappointing and felt nothing like the enjoyment I got from his previous books.
For years after his last Sean Drummond book ("Man in the Middle" in 2007), I would regularly check in with my library or Brian Haig's website to see if there were any new books. After a couple years, I gave up. Imagine my excitement last week when I discovered a new book was released - last year! I eagerly got it from the library, but the plot was so disappointing and felt so dated (really - an Abu Ghraib-esque plot so many years after the fact?). Nothing about the book felt thrilling....more
Fun story - my daughter's ultimate favourite when she was around one year old. The only downfall is at that age she has managed to destroy most of theFun story - my daughter's ultimate favourite when she was around one year old. The only downfall is at that age she has managed to destroy most of the pages (with its various flaps and such). ...more
I feel very strongly about having conversations with children early in their lives about their bodies. Setting a foundation for open conversations andI feel very strongly about having conversations with children early in their lives about their bodies. Setting a foundation for open conversations and trust is so important. I also have acquaintances and friends who were molested at very young ages (even as young as 2, which made me want to find appropriate books for my daughter who is the same age right now). Since my work focuses on issues of sexual exploitation, the importance of having safe, trusting people in the lives of children is not lost on me... I have often had people confront me with concerns of talking to youth about sexual exploitation ("they're too young to be learning about this!") and I always respond with "if you don't give youth opportunities to learn about sexual exploitation in safe environments with safe people, you risk them learning about it in very unsafe environments with very unsafe people."
This book is great because it comes with suggestions for adults at the end on best practices for reading the book and talking with children about their bodies and safety. The author indicates that this book was written for 3-8 year olds, but I felt comfortable reading this book with my two year old. Because of her younger age, I focused less on the pages that talk about the man who touched the child "in that place that no one else can see," and instead emphasized the pages that highlight safe adults, open conversations, and the fact that the child can confide in their safe adults without shame or fear. It's definitely a book that's adaptable with age.
I also like that the book has a page that says "I learned if I was too scared to tell my mom or dad, I could have told my teacher what made me feel so sad," recognizing that parents are not always a child's safe person and that other important role models are key in preventing sexual abuse and protecting victims.
The way the main child character is illustrated, you cannot tell if they are male or female. This is great for kids, giving the child reading the story the freedom to identify with the character as they need to. As my daughter read the book, she kept talking about the character as "she" in some pages and "he" in others....more
As I've mentioned before when reviewing other memoirs or personal accounts, I really feel uncomfortable assigning stars and critiquing the books. No mAs I've mentioned before when reviewing other memoirs or personal accounts, I really feel uncomfortable assigning stars and critiquing the books. No matter my feelings of a book, it takes a lot of vulnerability and bravery to expose oneself through mass publication. I don't want to come across as judgmental or appear to minimize the experiences of another person... But in this case, I feel like I need to use this reviewing process to unpack some of my feelings of this book; I'm still digesting (no pun intended).
I listened to the audio version of this book. I find myself often getting bored with biographies and memoirs, having started and not completed many books in the past (and I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have made it through this book if I had been reading it). But with audiobooks, I find I am more captivated or maybe more willing to invest myself in the story while washing dishes or driving. As I first started listening to It Was Me All Along, I thought perhaps it would be a solid 4 stars (though maybe I came into it with high expectations after hearing rave reviews by a friend). As I kept listening, I found myself liking it less and less (even now as I write this, I am torn between 1 and 2 stars).
At times, Mitchell's beautifully descriptive writing really adds to the book. At other times, it is overwritten and just too much. Her introduction, with the description of the richness of the cake and icing, is an example of her ability to appeal to all of the readers' senses. But other times Mitchell goes a little overboard with a flowery writing or overdoing it on the details (the part about meeting Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo ("Leo") DiCaprio was just way. too. much.). I am often skeptical when memoirs or biographies include an abundance of details; detailed dialogues from years past, quantifying things too much, etc. The credibility of the story (whether the details are supposed to be taken literally or not) dwindles for me... An example of this in It Was Me All Along: at the end of the book, Mitchell describes the times that her mother goes into her bedroom and "cries for two hours" after Mitchell pierces her nose, loses weight, etc. Though perhaps not meant to be taken literally - the exact amount of time her mother cried each time - I got hung up on this detail and it just frustrated me). In other sections, Mitchell goes into elaborate details about what she ate in comparison to others, often referring to childhood meals of hers and her friends. These sections bothered me, not only because of the level of detail I just mentioned (over emphasizing calories, contents of each meal, etc.), but because this constant comparison of eating habits was incredibly triggering for me. For a book that was supposed to emphasize her transition to acceptance of her body, I found the parts that dwelled on who ate what, how many calories each meal was and the frequent comparison to others to be unhelpful. I would find these sections more justified if Mitchell then focused more attention on how it was that she was finally able to come to terms with her eating disorder and obsessive compulsive tendencies. By the time she got to this, I found it fairly shallow and rushed.
I was also disappointed with the instances that warranted more critique of our society's way of approaching food. She had mentioned that her father's side of the family tended to be on the larger boned and heavier weight side of things, so I expected her to elaborate more on the fact that genetics play a crucial role in our bodies' various shapes and sizes. She mentioned that the culture of eating was vastly different for her in Italy than in the U.S., so I expected her to elaborate more on the way fast food (not just restaurants, but in the way we shop for food in stores too) plays a role in obesity rates in North America. She mentioned that when she returned to college she found it more difficult to eat healthily on campus, so I expected her to elaborate on how the university years impact young adults' health and habits. There were so many opportunities for Mitchell to reflect beyond the personal and dive into a larger critique of how other systemic factors play a role in health and obesity, and I was left disappointed with her lack of depth on the issues.
Lastly, I felt really uncomfortable with (what I saw as) fat shaming through the book. Despite supposedly being a book about acceptance and positive body image, Mitchell only seemed to dwell on the need to accept her new body, to come to terms with the fact that she was still the same person skinny as she was fat. But the way that Mitchell talked about this transition was alarming: she talked about feeling like she was finally "beginning her life" and finally being able to move with "grace." I don't feel like this left a positive message for those who are overweight anyone. Regardless of your size, your weight, your shape: your life is yours to live in abundance, with grace and in fullness.
Admittedly, as one who has struggled with low body image and compulsive eating behaviours, I found this book to be really quite triggering. Which was really disappointing for me because I was really looking for something that I would find more empowering and motivating. Despite my critiques of the book, I found myself identifying with Mitchell many times, and I empathized with her struggles and desire for healthy change.
Other reviewers who have also given this book lower ratings have mentioned that her blog is quite different than her book, so I would like to follow that and give it a chance. I bet Mitchell is a wonderful person, and I wish her all the best....more
**spoiler alert** Not the most profound book in the world, but it was entertaining and that's what I really needed to read right now. I'm on the fence**spoiler alert** Not the most profound book in the world, but it was entertaining and that's what I really needed to read right now. I'm on the fence whether I think the book was too long: on the one hand, there were parts where I thought "ok, get to the point already." On the other hand, while my suspicions were correct (about who "did it"), there were aspects about many of the characters which were revealed over the right amount of time to add a little more surprise and mystery.
Also, the characters are all hot messes. There is not one strong character - male or female... Makes it hard to really like any of them, but I had empathy for some of them (ok... "Some" may be a little much. Make it a couple of them).
Definitely not a book I'll categorize as a classic favourite, but well worth the read for entertainment value. ...more
I find myself drawn to all things William and Kate. When I heard this was fan fiction, I thought an entertaining, light read would be nice. But none oI find myself drawn to all things William and Kate. When I heard this was fan fiction, I thought an entertaining, light read would be nice. But none of the characters were all that likeable and the writing was just.... Meh. At times the story was just *too* similar to William and Kate which was not what I was expecting; where the story differed, I didn't find it all that entertaining. I found much more enjoyment watching the cheesy film "William & Kate" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1831829/). ...more