Author: Randy Susan Meyers
Source: from publisher for review
Summary: An interesting book which engaged with issues of race and weight thoughtfully, but sometimes felt preachy or too direct.
This is the story of two women, Daphne and Alice, who join a reality show focused on losing weight. Both women’s lives are negatively impacted by their weight and by the way they feel about their weight. This makes it hard for them to let go of the promise of the show to help them, even when it becomes clear that the producers might not have their best interests in mind.
I have mixed feelings about this book. The story was interesting. I liked the main characters and enjoyed following their journey. I liked that the story didn’t end when the show ended, since I think there were more difficult challenges for the women to face when they returned home. I thought the author handled issues of weight and race thoughtfully and respectfully. The ending to the story wasn’t too neat, nor was getting thin presented as the ultimate happy ending. It was generally nuanced, not reductive.
On the other hand, the book felt like an issues book. The narrator/the main characters often monologue at the reader about their weight or the way race shapes their relationship with their weight. I sometimes felt like I was being lectured. At other times, I just wanted a little more subtlety. The cast of the show was described as ethnically diverse, but the women didn’t feel particularly unique. Even our two main characters, who were described as having unique careers, home lives, personalities, hopes and concerns, felt homogeneous. The tone didn’t change between their chapters and the way they were presented felt similar.
It’s possible someone with more knowledge of issues related to race and weight might find problems here that I didn’t see. From my perspective, the book succeeded at handling sensitive questions well. Unfortunately, it felt a little forced and as a result, wasn’t as good of a story. See the other stops on the TLC book tour for other perspectives.