REVIEW for How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love
Thank you to Perseus books for the NetGalley download.
TITLE: How I got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love
AUTHOR: Ken Baker
I had mixed emotions about this book, but in the end gave it a 3 star rating because it was truly an interesting read.
This book is a work of fiction - incorporating reality tv and weight issues which made for a very promising plot line. Of course, I make a point of reading all things (fiction and non) on weight issues and have, therefore, had my share of great (and not so great reads).
The strength of this book lies, in my opinion, in the author's ability to really show the reader the pain that someone with weight issues can go through. Although it is less common now, many people still believe that being overweight is just a matter of "mind over matter" or that an overweight person is simply lazy and stupid. But, as it turns out, this is far from the truth and this is very well explored in this book.
From the early pages, I could easily see where some of the root problems lay - especially with the family dynamics detailed here. Of course, eating disorders are not born solely out of poor family dynamics - but they are a contributing factor and the author steadily shows us just how dysfunctional this home truly is. Of course, this is doubly true when Emery is expected to do a reality tv show where she must loose a huge amount of weight, on TV, in a ridiculously short amount of time, so that her parents don't lose their (very expensive) house.
What follows is the very sad road that Emery must take to please her parents and lose, lose, lose. I must admit that this makes for compelling reading - especially when Emery "fights back" in her own way against the machine that seems to care very little about her.
Yes, the author gives Emery a "team of experts, including medical and psychological help" but the reality is that the book falls apart for me here. I am worried about the message this book will send YA in that Emery is "given" a team to help her lose 50 pounds in fifty days - come on! that's a pound a day!!! which is a highly dangerous goal - no matter how many "specialists" you have working for (against???) you. In fact, at one point there is a discussion about cutting her calories down to 800 calories a day or something like that.
Secondly, amazingly, throughout this entire book - the words eating disorders are mentioned once or twice and that's it. It would have been great if this author had made this one of the main focuses of the book.
Having said all of that though, there is an interesting plot twist that does redeems the book in many ways - and this is a good read overall, but I guess I was hoping for a more balanced looked at the issues of weight and eating disorders, especially considering the target audience of this book.