Monday, July 18, 2016
45 Pounds (More or Less)
Before I begin discussing 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson, I feel I should make a bit of a disclaimer/disclosure statement: I am the same clothing size as Ann, the protagonist of this book (though 2 inches shorter than she) and I have had this same body shape my entire post-pubescent life. However, though I am a short, overweight little woman, I don't share one very important personality trait with Ann: for her, her weight is a source of shame and trauma while for me, it has never been an issue that has caused me much stress.
Of course, Ann has other pretty typical teen girl issues to deal with other than her weight. Her parents are divorced, have re-married and have had younger children with their new spouses. She has almost no contact with her dad and her stepmom and step sister are kind of awful. Her brother, who she used to be very close to has basically cut himself off from the entire family; and her best and really only friend is now going to a different school and involved in sports and new friends so they rarely see each other anymore. And her mom... well, we'll get to her mom in a bit.
As the story begins, Ann is asked to be a bridesmaid in her aunt's wedding, which would be great news except that Ann is horrified at the idea of having to fit into a fancy dress (Juniors size 17) and stand along side her super thin, control-freak of a mother who monitors every morsel of food that goes into her or anyone else's mouth and appears to be in deep denial about how her constant whining about being fat (at a size 6) is affecting not only Ann, but her 4 year old sister as well.
Having grown up with a control freak, yoga three times a week type mother myself, I can painfully relate to THAT part of Ann's life... but I think I am just too different of a person to empathize all that much. Even though I personally have always known I was "fat" I tend to suffer from what my mother refers to as "too much self esteem."
Ann is a girl who is afraid to talk to people, afraid to dance or bike or do much of anything in public for fear that the world is watching and judging, while I have never let the number on the scale or on my clothing tag stop me from doing any dang thing I please up to and including talking to hot boys, wearing a bathing suit in total public, and being in every high school play we staged at good old Kofa High (home of the Kofa Kings! YEAH!).
I realize this all makes me a weirdo freak... but here's the thing - that's so freaking SAD! It's so damn sad that the vast majority of overweight women in this country feel like Ann does: ashamed, disgusting, judged and ridiculed for something as stupid as a couple of flab rolls or cellulite on their bums. And ******spoiler alert***** it kind of pissed me off that Ann didn't start feeling like she was an ok person until 1) she lost 25 pounds and 2) a cute boy asked for her phone number.
Yes, I know, it can be unhealthy to be overweight, and it is certainly a good message to give to girl that they need to eat well and get off the couch once in a while, I would like to give women like me all over the world my own message, which is: you are perfectly fine.
Look in the mirror, and find something you like about yourselves that has NOTHING TO DO with your weight or clothing size and tell yourself you are beautiful because you are (I happen to have excellent skin, lovely hair and mad makeup application skillz, but that's just me tooting my horn). How you feel about yourself has nothing to do with your size! It has nothing to do with what some GUY tells you! Yes, eat well, exercise, lay off the "diet" food (because it's just making you fatter, people!!) and ENJOY YOUR LIFE. Like Ann, the only thing stopping you from being happy is YOU.
End of rant.
But seriously, you are freaking beautiful and I love you if you are a size 0 or a size 99!
Final review: 3/5 bookmarks, because it was a nice try at a positive message, but your self esteem should not be wrapped up in whether a boy thinks you are cute or not!