Barbara's Reviews > All of Me

All of Me by Chris Baron
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1222379
While the writing in this novel in verse is elegant and personal, there were parts of the protagonist's weight loss journey that seemed unrealistic to me. Ari Rosensweig hasn't had the best year as a seventh grader after his family's move from New York City to San Francisco. Because of his size and being Jewish and new to the area, he's bullied and belittled by classmates Mark and Frank, and even beaten up at one point. It's clear that his parents aren't getting along, and he often is left to his own devices, turning to food to fill the void. After an incident in which he makes clear just how much pain and self-loathing he's experiencing, Ari embarks on a strict diet, spurred on by his mother. It consists of strict regulation and measurement of food portions as well as positive self-talk. When Ari's artist mother decides to spend the summer at the beach and bring along his best friend, Lisa, who has her own challenges due to her upbringing, Ari has plenty of time to work on himself. Despite his fears about his appearance and his ill-fitting clothing, he makes friends with Jorge and eventually comes to some self-acceptance. While this is an important story and many parts of it rang true for me, I finished the book feeling troubled that many youngsters will read it and see weight loss as an essential part of self-acceptance or a way to avoid being bullied. Or that they will end up thinking that losing a few pounds over the summer is the key to happiness. While it might be critical to becoming healthier, I know from a lifetime of experience that the weight is merely a symptom of something else that is missing from one's life. Losing the pounds or controlling the food intact isn't enough until you do some work on you and your heart and mental health. Other than a brief counseling session and sporadic visits with the rabbi who is helping him prepare for his bar mitzvah, Ari doesn't seem to get the help he needs, which makes me worry for him in the future. I was quite frustrated and annoyed with his parents, both of whom were absent in different ways. And I worried about poor Lisa, who was making some bad choices as well. In the end, I found the book's title more than a little problematic since neither Ari nor those around him ever fully embraces all of him, instead seeming to love him more, the less there was of him. That's not the best message to send out into the world, is it?
1 like · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read All of Me.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 19, 2019 – Finished Reading
July 25, 2019 – Shelved
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: animals
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: body-image
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: character-building
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: compassion
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: community
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: conflict
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: cooking
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: depression
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: eating-disorders
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: education
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: economics
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: art
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: empathy
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: emotions
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: empowerment
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: facing-fears
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: families
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: friendship
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: humor
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: kindness
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: literacy
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: music
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: nature
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: bullies
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: pets
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: reading
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: resilience
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: rural-life
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: school
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: self-esteem
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: self-harm
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: trauma
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: travel
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: unlikely-friendships
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: urban-life
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: violence
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: novels-in-verse
July 25, 2019 – Shelved as: cultural-identity

No comments have been added yet.