Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Review: "150 Pounds" by Kate Rockland
Shoshana Weiner has always been a big girl in a big family. She weighs in at about 215 pounds, her sister Emily is close to 300, and her mother is large as well. Having seen how people discriminate against larger people firsthand, Shoshana runs a blog called “Fat and Fabulous”, encouraging heavier women to “live large” and love every curvy bit of themselves despite the numbers on the scale.
Alexis Allbright runs the blog “Skinny Chick”. Alexis schedules her day down to the last minute, includes daily vigorous workouts, rigorously inputs her calories into an app on her iPhone and doesn’t have any room in her life for people who are overweight. In fact she doesn't have room for many people in her life at all.
When Shoshana and Alexis meet on the Oprah show for a special segment on women and how they view their bodies, it doesn’t go well. With such drastically opposing viewpoints on weight and health, it’s not surprising. However the next few months find Shoshana and Alexis rethinking their original opinions and coming to some surprising conclusions.
What divides a good book from a great book in my opinion? A good book is one that I’m enjoying but don’t find myself reaching for at every spare moment. A great book is one that I just can’t stop reading, despite what is on TV, or what chores need to be done, or how much time I have before leaving for work. 150 Pounds is a great book. As a woman who has struggled with her weight, and the stigma surrounding being a heavier woman, all her life, I found myself relating to this one from the beginning. 150 Pounds is all about how women so often connect their self-worth to the numbers on the scale. When those numbers go up, we become worthless in our own eyes, and when those numbers go down suddenly we become worthy of being loved by others. Last February I took charge of my own health and began eating more mindfully as well as incorporating exercise into my daily routine. I did find myself feeling better about myself as those pounds fell off, but at the same time I found that life is not any rosier on the other side. I found out that the connection between self-worth and the numbers on the scale is often an illusion. Shoshana and Alexis struggle with these same issues throughout the book.
150 pounds is made up of two different story lines. Half of the book tells Shoshana’s story, and half tells Alexis’. You’d think that, being a curvy girl myself, I would have enjoyed Shoshana’s story the most, right? Surprising even myself, I found myself drawn to Alexis from the very beginning, and not for the reasons that you would think. I wasn’t drawn to her thinness or her impeccable discipline, but rather to the pain that I sensed underneath her tough exterior. While I enjoyed Shoshana’s story, it was Alexis’ that had me really wanting to know more.
My only complaint (except for the fact that the eARC that I read was not formatted very well which was distracting) was one small part in the conclusion of the novel. Overall I liked the conclusion a lot and found it fitting, but there was one part that seemed overdone and that bothered me a little.
I can easily recommend 150 Pounds. The stories were interesting and well-written, the characters believable and lovable, and the ending really brought everything together. If you’ve ever struggled with your weight or your self-worth, I think that you’ll definitely find something to relate to in 150 Pounds.
My thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for providing me with this eARC.