Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker


"Thick. Heavy. Big boned. Plump. Full figured. Chunky. Womanly. Large. Curvy. Plus-size. Hefty." To sixteen-year-old Emery Jackson, these are all just euphemisms for the big "F" word—"fat." Living on a Southern California beach with her workout fiend dad, underwear model sister, and former model mother, it is impossible for Emery not to be aware of her weight.

Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her "momager" signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom, a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family's financial woes. Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame. Emery knows that things have changed. But is it for the better?
My Rating
My Review
How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love is a truly unique little novel that will appeal to a variety of readers. After all, who doesn't like modern satire on pop culture and more laughs than most of the comedy shows out there. This book is a nonstop blast, but definitely has more depth than one may initially think. The plot line, references and excellent humor only scrape the surface of the book. The themes and heart of How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love go much further and can allow for connection to just about anyone, as we all deal with expectations of others weighing us down.

The pacing of How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love is spot on for the majority of the novel. I devoured it in one sitting like a double bacon cheeseburger. Unlike that cheeseburger, I felt great after finishing and it didn't go straight to my thighs. The plot kept moving and I was eager to keep reading. I thought that the ending wrapped a bit quickly, but I did finish the book at one in the morning after reading without pause, so it may have just felt that way to me.

I loved the diary like set up of the novel. Not only does it make sense in the world of the story and the style of the book, but Emery has a fantastic voice. Gut-wrenchingly funny, delightfully sassy and amazingly realistic, it doesn't matter what decisions she made, I can't help but like her. I was definitely a fan, since Emery brought something truly unique to the novel through a perspective that was refreshingly honest. It takes a strong character to connect so easily with a teenage audience. (As a member of the teenage audience, I assure you she does.)
Although it is fiction, How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love is so real. It doesn't sugarcoat the world or how women are affected by body image. It isn't afraid to show the good, the bad, and the ugly within people, which is fantastic and makes me wan to do a happy dance.
How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love is a wonderful read. Yes, it appeals to teenagers, but it doesn't only appeal to teenagers. If you live in a world immersed in pop culture (and if you're reading this, I'm assuming you do) then you will fall madly in love too. 

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