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Am I Ugly?

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  874 ratings  ·  108 reviews
In July 2015, Michelle Elman posted a picture of herself on Instagram. She is wearing a bikini, but unlike so many of the bodies on Instagram, hers is not thin. And in the photo, you can see deep scars running across her stomach. At twenty-one years old, it was her first time wearing a bikini. The post went viral. It was shared by celebrities such as Zooey Deschanel and Ge ...more
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published July 12th 2018 by Head of Zeus Ltd (first published July 2018)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  874 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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Elze Reinders
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been following Michelle for some time now on Instagram, joined her body positive book club on Facebook and watched her YouTube videos. When I found out she was writing a book I pre-ordered as soon as possible. And she did not disappoint, I finished reading in less than a week. Michelle has always been open about her medical and physical conditions and the many surgeries but in this book she is very detailed and personal about her childhood and puberty. Along the way you see her changes and ...more
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As some of my recent posts have indicated, I have a bit of a body positivity journey under way. So, when I noticed that Net Galley had Michelle Elman's book available, I had to request it right away, and thank goodness the request was accepted.

It's easy to think about body positivity as entirely about weight and fatness, but of course that's not true. It's about any characteristic that your body might have, and Michelle's book is an excellent reminder of that as the central characteristic being
3.5 stars

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers/author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Michelle Elman has had a long road to accepting her body, and all that she’s been through with it. From the time she was a small child, Elman has had to go through a large amount of surgeries, and this continued into her early teens and again in her college years. Through it all, Elman had to struggle to accept her body, her scars and allowing herself to believe others c
Shruti Ramanujam
Am I Ugly is the most realistic portrayal of the journey to body confidence I’ve ever read.

This powerful memoir is Michelle’s experience with undergoing life-threatening illness, 15 major operations, and learning to love her body unconditionally. I follow Michelle on Instagram and I can see how much she’s changed from the young girl who hated her scars at St Keyes to the powerful woman and inspirational body confidence coach she is now.

The strength of this book lies in how much the general audie
Alicia Croft
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The message itself is 5 stars, the reading experience a 3 star. Still worth reading
Elite Group
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brave journey from self-loathing to self-love.

I believe that all young women or men, all girls and boys, have asked themselves the question posed by the book’s title at some point in their lives.

“Am I ugly?”

“Am I too fat?”

“Am I acceptable or good enough?”

In a digitally-driven world overrun with photoshopped images of unattainable perfection and social media perpetuating ridiculous beauty stereotypes, it is difficult not to compare yourself, your outward appearance particularly, to others and
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I related to this book and its author like you would not believe. It actually had me sobbing at points, and smiling, happily reassured and inspired, at others.

(Full review to come on
Shelley Wild
Interesting story but just as she gets to acceptance, it ends and it feels premature. The lack of analysis of the reactions of the men in her life stood out as well. Interesting story but wouldn't really recommend in the slew of body confidence books. ...more
Liz Cornall
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A stunning read, beautifully written. Michelle’s story is remarkable and I couldn’t recommend this book highly enough
Char (lunarchar_)
Incredible. Raw. Honest. Painful. Beautiful. I sobbed through the last two chapters. I know I’ll be re-reading this many times in my life. Infinitely grateful this book exits.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. I’ve honestly lost track of how long I’ve been following Michelle on social media. I’ve wanted to read this for a while, and I’m glad I finally got my hands on it!

The sections about her health and trauma were, for me, the most captivating and eye-opening parts. My mom was very ill as a young adult, and I have a close friend who had a childhood that resembles Michelle’s. Michelle’s experiences really helped me picture what my loved ones have gone through, and the way illness impacts all aspe
Aimee Golden
I put off reading this memoir because I knew once I started, I wouldn't be able to put it down. I have followed Elman on Instagram for years now and I already loved her voice and opinions, so I was thrilled to get to hear her life story in her own words. Elman has been through hell and back and she just keeps going. Surviving her surgeries would have been heroic enough for one lifetime, but she thrives. She has boldly embraced her story, her scars, and what she truly wants in this life. Whether ...more
Gayle Noble
I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions whilst reading this memoir by Michelle Elman. A story of immense courage and resilience, but the author wasn't afraid to show the other side of chronic illness - the anger, the tears, the 'why me?'. Her bewilderment at returning to school and her classmates being not one whit interested in what had happened, and her initial worry about how her scars would be judged, were two instances which really struck a chord. Anyone who has lived with a chronic healt ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been following Michelle on Instagram for quite a while now, and the positive energy that she radiates on social media shines through even in this book.

Before reading this book I was aware of her many surgeries and scars, but this memoir was such a fantastic look into her life and her journey, from young girl at a boarding school, struggling with life-threatening illness and countless surgeries, to the woman she is today, and the obstacles she faced along the way.

Michelle is a woman who is s
thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
This book is amazing, and has helped me more than any self help, confidence or self esteem book I have tried to read, I cried a lot sometimes because of what Michelle went through and a lot because I recognised myself and my feelings in Michelle. I recommend this book to anyone who follows body positivity is trying to learn to accept/love or be themselves it's a truly wonderful book and if I could give it six stars I would ...more
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I devoured this book in just over 24 hours. I am passing it on to my friends. They need to read it. You need to read it too.
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful memoir that sees us walk hand in hand with Michelle through her life thus far and the surgeries that impacted her on the way. At its core, this is a book about belief, hope, and acceptance. I loved that psychology was woven through the narrative. From the chapters based in school to the those that see us explore different kinds of psychotherapy, Michelle is brilliant at deftly exploring her past with an insight and understanding of trauma and how it repositions our memories. ...more
Tiny Librarian
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely devoured Am I Ugly in two sittings over 24 hours. It is the definition of powerful and un put downable!

Michelle tells her story from age 11 onwards of how she suffered multiple illnesses and underwent several surgeries throughout her life. Intertwined with her experience at boarding school (which I always find fascinating) and then on to her uni years. Michelle is such a strong and powerful woman in the bopo movement and has inspired and encouraged me immensely.

I highly recommend
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Your happiness is more important than other people’s opinions.”

”Illness is the greatest equalizer in life.
It doesn't discriminate between the old or the young, the rich or the poor, the good or the bad...”

”Wrinkles made a person seem more beautiful to me. When I saw crow’s feet around someone's eyes, I thought of all the laughing they must have done in life, how many moments lived and enjoyed...”
Kenzie Brenna
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible book by an incredible woman, a journey that is relatable, thought provoking and much needed in the world!!!
Cen-sational Reads
I was hooked to story straight away. It is both a heartbreaking story and yet its inspirational all in one. I’m in total awe of Michelle Elman and her journey through her illness and how she dealt with all the obstacles that she came across. Also how she over came adversity.
This book for me teaches about lessons in life and how to learn from our life experiences.
I shall be following Michelle journey through social media.
Anna Barrett
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A stunning read - bold, powerful, uplifting and strong. Would highly recommend to anyone who likes to be inspired by their stories.
Anna Barrett
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely stunning read - brave, beautiful and inspirational. Couldn't recommend more! ...more
Giulia Held
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where to begin? This book is so inspirational! Michelle Elman has had quite the journey in her life, having gone through many surgeries before the age of 21. Spending a long time in the hospital at age 11, meant that Elman had to confront some very serious topics at a young age like our inevitable mortality. By reading this book you will inevitably relate to Elman in more ways than you think because every one of us has struggled with insecurities, especially whilst going through puberty. I can c ...more
Linda Hill
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With life threatening illnesses, Michelle Elman endures a childhood that will leave both physical and mental scars.

I have to confess I read Am I Ugly? over quite a long period of time, not because I didn’t enjoy it (if, indeed, enjoy is the correct verb to use), but because I found it such a powerful book that I needed to tackle it in short bursts. Structured like a traditional three act Greek tragedy with just as much drama, Am I Ugly? is divided into 36 chapters all headed by questions about i
Louise Douglas
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been following Michelle on Instagram for quite a while (if you’re not following her, check her out, her feed is brill), and when I saw her book was reduced on Kindle, I had to buy it.

I love what Michelle has to say about body positivity and looking after your own mental health, and although I didn’t really know what the book was about, I knew it would be a good read.

I was completely shocked by the book, I had no idea all the things that the author has been through in her life. It would be e
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Following Michelle on social media I knew her for her blatantly honest opinions, posts, videos and messages. What I wasn’t expecting was an absolute rawness of content that quite often has you wide eyed, gasping and depending on what chapter, crying in public.
During a train ride I gasped so loud and covered my mouth that it made more than a handful of people turn my way as tears began to swell.

The content for me was extremely relatable. I have pages highlighted from sentences that either spoke
Vinka Maharani
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To read the book was a heart wrenching situation for me. Perhaps in much lower degree, but reading Michelle Elman's letter for her 11 years old self just like reading my own voice for my 5 years old self. Tears burst. Being emotional is one thing, accepting and giving myself "permission" to be angry is another thing.

I love on how Michelle write about her confidence. It's a journey. Some people treated confidence is given or taken for granted. No, it's a bit by bit. Just because I'm confidence d
Hannah Stevens
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few weeks ago I went along to the marvelous Michelle Elman's book launch for 'Am I Ugly?'
I knew I'd consume it quickly but I didn't think I'd get through it in a matter of days. I devoured every single page and I've spent the last couple of weeks re-reading it and highlighting my favourite passages.
The way Michelle writes makes you feel as though you're curled up with a cup of tea on a slouchy sofa with your best friend while she tells you her tale.
She tells her story earnestly and unflinch
Dai Guerra
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Michelle Elman tells you the story of her life through many hospital visits and her journey towards loving her body. Having known about her before kind of changes the way I read her book in a positive manner. I found it easy to relate to her journey and found her journey to body positivity similar to others but also her own.

I hardly ever listen to audiobooks because I find it hard to keep track of the story line but the narrator of this book is great to listen to. The narrator fits the story qui
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Michelle Elman is a five-board accredited life coach, broadcaster and author who is most known for her campaign Scarred Not Scared. Last year Michelle was named as one of The Sun's 50 most inspirational women in the UK and is recognised as one of the top 100 creatives creating change. Her second book “The Joy of Being Selfish” topped Amazon Charts when it was released this year and her debut book ...more

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“Understand that even if you hate your body, your body loves you. Your body fought for you to keep you alive and breathing every single day, so please stop fighting your body. You are on the same team.” 1 likes
“As a female, anger was never an appropriate emotion, and I was taught to feel guilt around that anger. Guilt was digestible, more feminine, easier to control and manage, after all.” 0 likes
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