Mallory's Reviews > Jemima J: A Novel About Ugly Ducklings and Swans

Jemima J by Jane Green
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's review
Feb 03, 2015

did not like it
bookshelves: adult, fiction

This book actually made me mad when I read it, to the point that I stuck a post-it note warning in the book before I returned it to the library.

Five reasons why this book is dreadful:

a) The heroine, Jemima, is constantly described as being morbidly obese and too fat to function in society. Jane Green, the author, mentions several times that Jemima can't fit into chairs. Now, Jemima is 5'7 and 217 pounds. That may not be the size of a supermodel, but the way Jemima is described throughout the book, what with her zillions of chins and rolls of fat, you'd think she was easily triple the size of that picture.

b) Jemima is so fat that men aren't attracted to her and the only reason she lost her virginity was because it happened in the dark, where her lover couldn't see her hideous figure.

c) Jemima goes on a diet and loses 100 pounds in 3 months. Yeah. I swear, that's what the book says.

d) The "dreamy" love interest only likes her after she's lost 100 pounds.

e) It borrows every single cliche from The Big Book Of Lame Cliches. Internet dating gone awry? Check! Too good to be true love interest? Check! Forced separation of the heroine and the love interest? Check! Lots of humor? I'll give it half a check, as using "humor" to describe these "jokes" would cause a rift in the universe. "Shocking" twist? Check! It's like Jane Green got paid by the cliche or something.
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Reading Progress

02/13 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-21)

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message 21: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer At 5 foot 7 and being 117 pounds after her weight loss, she's be nearly skin and bones!

message 20: by Kerri (new) - rated it 1 star

Kerri Oh Mallory, I miss you!! Great review!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) This sounds really bad. 217 is hardly morbidly obese.

Danielle this book was sooo bad! lol...and yeah, the author made it seem like she was a f-ing ELEPHANT! yeah, was she overweight, yes, but COME ONE!! and the boyfriend with the 'fat' girlfriend, hiding her, and the porn. i mean...COME OOONNNN. i definetly wasted brain cells reading this book

message 17: by Zeba (new) - added it

Zeba ooh after reading your comment i dont think i'de want to read the book.. i thought at the end it may have the main character embracing the way she is or making a change in her weight and being determined.. but the way you've described it makes it look soo bad.. thanks for the review.. not going to waste my time reading that :)

Leslie The weight loss is hardly talked about! And then all the compliments she gets... It is ridiculous! I read the weight and height and I thought that is overweight but hardly cause for being a "social leper" as she calls herself in h.s./college, if I remember right. What positive, good message is it teaching? I would hate to think a h.s. girl(s) reads this and takes it to heart.

message 15: by Sara (new)

Sara I agree. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who warns my fellow library patrons via post-it!!

message 14: by Erica (new) - rated it 1 star

Erica Haha I love that you put a post it warning for future library patrons!

message 13: by Lorena (new)

Lorena Wow! I have had this on my to-read list forever but I will be removing it. No Fat shaming in my house.

message 12: by Beth (new)

Beth Williams When I read this book, I had no idea what her weight was (being Australian I don't know lbs or st) but imagined it was a huge number. After re -reading it recently, I looked up the conversion and realised that at one point she is disgusted to weigh 80kgs! Seriously just can't get my head around this book anymore!

message 11: by Christina (new)

Christina You've just changed my mind about reading this book.

DragonTears I enjoyed this book very much . Although I read this book a looooong time ago so maybe if I went back and read it again I wouldn't like it as much .

message 9: by Angelina (new)

Angelina Barela OMG!!! Are you kidding me? 5'7 and 217 lbs? Isn't that a Lane Byant model

bluertide completely agree. the book was way off. it even made me think less of the author to think this was at all relatable or believable. as a girl who is not "skinny" by media standards I was rather insulted at some parts.

message 7: by Ev (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ev According to medical terms, he BMI would be 33.2 and 30 - 34.99 is considered obese. Also at 117 her BMI would be 18.32 and anything under 18.5 is underweight. In 2009 my weight was considered morbidly obese. I reached my goal of 120 in June of 2012.Taking off weight slowly by changing eating habits is a sure way to keep it off in most cases. I lost 5 more pounds and my BMI was 19.13 with ideal for my 5' 5" is 18.5 to 24.9, so I wasstill in a good range. My oncologist insisted I gain 10 pounds back as he said I looked like someone who just came out a labor camp with little to eat. So yes, she was obese, but she lost the weight too quickly and became underweight which can be as bad as being overweight. Though it isn't perfect, I did enjoy the book. I think for most books one must suspend reality to enjoy them. Think Twilight and Harry Potter series. That said, I do appreciate your review and all the comments. BTW, I was 274 lbs when I read the book. I don't know if that makes a difference in knowing how people treat those overweight, I don't know for sure but it seems logical.

Cecelia I enjoyed the book, but, was a bit dismayed to discover that Jemima only weight 200 pounds. I'd thought she weighed 300 or 400 pounds. I weight 213 - no I don't look like I weigh this much, and I wear a size 16 pants. But, someone who weighs 200 can easily fit into chairs and such. I thought she should've made Jemima's weight heavier.

message 5: by Jessie (new)

Jessie V So glad this was the first review I read, though sadly not before I read the book. It still boggles my mind that the author actually thought to have Jemima's trainer tell her that loosing weight too quickly and without working out would result in excess skin, but then had the character lose 100 pounds in under six months and have perfect taunt skin. Literally impossible.

message 4: by Nafisa (new)

Nafisa A This unfortunetly was one of the first romance books I ever read. And as a teenager!!! I was shocked and horrified at how she described herself. It completely took me out of the book and made me really consider the author. Is that how she really feel, and my internal debate kept distracting me. Thank god I found other romance authors because she really made me consider never readinf them if looks where going to be blamed for lack of a love life. I could be a supermodel and someone could find something wrong with. I really don't such a twisted and unhealthy worldview.

message 3: by Natalie (new)

Natalie omg the post it note! Too funny!

Jessica Ford Thank you! I totally agree with your first reason for hating this book. While I liked the book, Green's description of Jemima was ridiculous and made me mad.

message 1: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam I almost did not read this book due to all of the negative comments. I'm so glad I did though, it was very interesting! I think a lot of commenters seem offended by the description of the overweight character, I did not take it offensively as I get that the author is just trying to make a point, she was overweight! And although I am considered to have a normal bmi, there are days when I feel how jemina felt, fat! It's a fictional book and when I read fiction I do not get all bent out of shape if something can be non realistic, because how likely will any of these these fictional books actually going to happen? It's just a light read that will put you into a different world and fantasy!! Come on guys, you finished the book so you must have liked it, you were just offended by the overweight stereotype, and sorry but obesity is a major epidemic, over 2/3 of our population is overweight!!

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