By: K.A. Barson
Release Date: July 11, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Fat. It sounds like a dirty word, doesn’t it? It’s something you shouldn’t call someone or, heaven forbid, even say in front of someone who isn’t the societal norm of the perfect weight. In this book we see how one teenager takes on this word, her own body and, most importantly, her view of herself, to become the person she feels she needs to be.
Let me start this review off by saying this. I, at my height and weight, would be categorized as overweight. Just a fact of life, no pity party, no cry for help, no complaining. I’m healthy in all other respects except my weight. So, for anyone reading this, yes I understand this character and yes I can relate to her.
On the topic of relating to the character let me say this. Ann, our main character, is relatable so therefore she isn’t always 100% likable and she isn’t perfect. (I’m talking beyond her weight here, folks.) She’s a teenager. Sixteen to be exact and she’s unhappy with her body. So, when her Aunt is getting married and Ann wants to be a bridesmaid, and fit in a bridesmaid dress, she decides to lose weight. From there we see general teenage attitude and we see a realistic portion of teenagers (and what I remember being a teenager was like).
Something I loved about this book is that while there are some standard cliches within it they aren’t everywhere you look. Ann, despite being overweight, isn’t ostracized at school. All the popular girls aren’t stereotypical mean girls. Ann’s crush isn’t the chiseled Greek god of a teenager we’re used to seeing in these stories. Some cliches are there but they are well balanced with a sense of reality.
Ann’s path to liking her body is full of bumps. Some you think she won’t overcome. Some you think she has to overcome. In the end it’s her ability to understand that the world doesn’t revovle around her weight, that her weight doesn’t define her, that makes this book a pleasant read.
And, for perhaps one of the most honest lines ever written, a quote that made me laugh and then adjust my own clothing.
“Nothing draws attention to thunder thighs more than shorts riding up your crotch.”
Whether you struggled with your weight your whole life or you didn’t have to deal with that (as a teenager or ever) this book ins’t only meant for overweight people. This book, and the cliche but important message of loving yourself, is for everyone out there. It’s hard, sometimes, to be told that over and over again. It’s easy when reading a book to see that there are ways to accept yourself. Rereading this book put me back in a more positive head space and I’m glad I picked it up again recently. Sometimes you need a fictional person to teach you something reality based. For me, that’s what Ann, and this book, did for me.