I recently read 45 Pounds by K. A. Barson and I loved it! This is going to be a rave review because I truly loved this book!
Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.
to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons,
embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some
surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.
And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!
This book follows Ann, an overweight teenager, as she signs up for yet ANOTHER diet plan in an effort to lose 45 pounds before her aunt's wedding. She spends her savings on the first two weeks of an infomercial diet plan. We follow Ann as she deals with losing weight, losing her best friend, and coming to understand her mother and what truly is healthy. We are also with Ann as she gains. Gains a best friend, gains her first crush, and realizes everyone deals with weight problems at one time or another.
I loved Ann's voice in this book! Her personality shined through and as a fellow fat-girl, I found myself really relating to her. She is a typical 16 year old girl- she can be a little whiny, a little self-absorbed, and self-hating. This only added to the authenticity of the book. I felt for Ann as she deals with losing touch with her best friend, as she struggles to fit into her blended family, and struggles to love herself when all the advertisements around her tell her not to.
The reader is left wondering about Ann's mother throughout the book. She obviously cares for Ann but we aren't sure if she can communicate that to Ann in a way that doesn't involve food. By the end of the book I was cheering her on and felt entirely sympathetic to her struggles.
My other favorite characters were Raynee and Liberty.
Raynee shows Ann that even people Ann would consider perfect still have issues with their bodies. Raynee also showed Ann what true friendship feels like. She was a great friend- the kind of friend we all love or wish we had.
Liberty is Ann's young half-sister and she is the catalyst for Ann's desire to promote a healthy attitude about food. Liberty has been watching her mother and Ann as they fight different battles with food and she has no idea what to truly think. I felt for little Liberty and I enjoyed the fact that it was out of love for Liberty that Ann decided to be healthy- not skinny.
This book has a happy ending that feels a little too put-together but the reader is satisfied that all lose-ends are tied up. The reader is left feeling upbeat about the direction of Ann's attitudes and her family life. I will admit, I teared up a little at the end because I felt so close to Ann and I could relate to her so well.
I loved this book more than I thought I would. It might end up being my favorite book of the year because it was so relatable to me. I have been a fat kid all my life- I could be politically correct but I'm not going to be. I'm fat. I am 21 years old and I have only recently LOST weight to be a size 18-20. I've been big all my life, and so has Ann. She went to her first WeightWatchers meeting at the age of 10, around that age I told the first boy I liked him and he told me "Ewww. You're fat." Ann lives with a mother who is so oblivious to the feelings of a fat girl that she suggests Ann buy a bikini for the summer. I live with a grandmother who suggests similar outfits. This is the life of a fat girl and this book is a snapshot of that.
That being said, IT IS NOT A BOOK JUST FOR FAT GIRLS! I had to put that all in caps because my rambling above might have convinced someone that you can only read this book and enjoy it if you are overweight. This is a book for anyone who is dissatisfied with our image- and who among us isn't dissatisfied with something about our bodies? In fact, this story shows the concerns of someone who is overweight, someone with the "wrong" body type for most clothes, and someone who struggles with anorexia. This is a book for everyone.
This is a young adult read that I would let my 12 year old little sister read and that I would suggest to anyone. Yes, I said anyone. It is a contemporary young adult with a compelling message. "Skinny" girls need to read this to see what it is like to live in a fat girl life. I would suggest it to "normal" girls to see how other people feel. And of course, I would suggest it to "fat" girls to see that EVERYONE worries about weight.
If you feel comfortable commenting it, what is your body image struggles? Would you want to read a book about realistic body image? What do you think about my blanket recommendation? Does this sound like a book you're interested in? Leave me a comment and let me know!