Before I say anything, just let me say I really enjoyed this book. I've always enjoyed reading books where the main character is someone who is overweBefore I say anything, just let me say I really enjoyed this book. I've always enjoyed reading books where the main character is someone who is overweight or has lost weight, I suppose because it makes me feel a little better about myself in some way, like I'm not the only person going through it.
The main character in this story is Jennifer, or Jenn, as her family calls her. She is 27, in need of a new job, overweight and desperately unhappy. You see just how unhappy she is very early on in the story and several things happen which propel her on a mission to lose weight. She also has a lot of family issues and you come to see how they have affected her throughout her life.
As the story progresses, you see how determined she is to lose this weight, but also how negative her mindset is about many things–her own self-image, her opinion of others, and her thoughts about what others think of her. Her self-loathing is very evident, and at times painful for me to read, because I've often had some of the same negative feelings. For Jenn, her ultimate accomplishment is reaching a certain set number on the scale (although that number is never actually stated) and she will not let herself feel happy or like she matters until she does.
She has an overweight friend, Tammy, who is in a relationship, has a good job, and likes to look nice, despite her weight. Basically Tammy doesn't let her weight hold her back in what she wants. Jenn doesn't understand how she can possibly be happy, and seems to think that trying to look pretty when you're overweight is pointless (another way in which you realize her level of self-loathing). This, and another scene later in the book involving picking out jewelry to wear out, make me think of how society often views overweight women who do put effort into their appearance. I know for myself I've often had moments where I've felt this way, like, "What's the point? No matter how nice my clothes are or how I do my hair, I'm still fat and that's all people see." Jenn feels that way.
Jennifer has a supportive cousin, Autumn, and throughout the book her relationship with Autumn–and most of her other relatives–evolves. She realizes that she's often pushed people away and created a lot of her own unhappiness.
What I really liked about this book was how real it felt. The author of the book is not overweight (at least from her picture). She looks young and pretty, and I wonder if she's ever had a weight problem, or if someone close to her has. I feel she understood a lot of the feelings that many overweight women probably have. I know that I've had many of the struggles that Jenn has, like being embarrassed with your clothes not fitting well or having family members make fun of you.
I also like the progression of the story. Some books are all over the place and I'm always wondering at what point in time we are, but this story follows a sort of timeline from start to finish, and I like that. Last night I finished the book and realized at the end that there is going to be another book, so that's exciting because I really want to know more! There is a tendency in me to get attached to characters, and I am definitely attached. There is a character Jenn meets, Rajeev, and I must know what happens to him because I really liked him a lot.
As far as criticisms, I can't really think of anything that stands out. The only thing that I can think of is Jenn's attitude at times, but that is not a criticism of the book or story, it's just one of those things where you want to shake a person and ask what the heck is wrong with them because you see how destructive they are being. A lot of Jenn's thoughts no one knows, she's just often so negative, and at times, can seem very selfish, which was bugging me even though I like her at the same time.
The book isn't very long (less than 200 pages on my e-reader) so it's something you can read fairly quickly. I read it in 3 or 4 sessions before bed each night and I had to stop myself from reading and go to bed. I really wanted to know if Jenn succeeded.
In my opinion, this is a book almost anyone would enjoy, particularly if you've ever struggled with weight. I know I've been overweight my whole life (like Jenn) and I know how it can affect you.
I'd definitely recommend reading this, and I can't wait to read the next book, as I love reading a series. ...more