150 Pounds by Kate Rockland

So, a few months ago, someone contacted me through this blog and ASKED ME TO REVIEW THEIR BOOK.  Here. On my tiny little blog on the interwebs. (I imagine they missed the fact that I haven’t posted for 5 months!) Can you guess what I said? Of course you can.

On my own, I would never have picked up 150 Pounds by Kate Rockland. My Advanced Reader Copy has a cover just like the one above. The color scheme, the font, the blurbs – everything points to ‘chick lit’, a category that pisses me off for existing (since it lumps anything written by a woman that is actually about women and not manly pursuits together in one big ‘hey guys, don’t even look at these lame books’ category) and – at its worst – bores me to tears with its mindless girl-power attitude.

Thankfully, this book is not one of those I feel I need to throw across the room. This book is well-written, compelling and – most important of all – has great characters. Rockland does a great job of making these women real – their lives, families and emotional complexities leap off the page.

Alexis spends every day counting calories and working out.  Shoshana spends her days taking care of everyone but herself, and treating herself to food when she feels down. Both are bloggers who write for and about women – from opposite sides of the war on weight.  When they are scheduled together on a segment of Oprah, their encounter is the beginning of important changes in both their lives.

We’ve all had friends much like these women. You love them, and they frustrate the hell out of you because they can’t see how wonderful they are.  One of the most beautiful women I’ve ever known spent more time worried about her looks than anyone I’ve ever met.  She truly believed that all those manicures and hair appointments and new clothes were necessary to keep her looking decent enough to be seen in public.  Still breaks my heart to think of her, living her life buried in self-loathing.

This story is interesting and believable, and realistically hopeful for women in the real world.  I like that it included writing from both blogs, and discussions of media portrayals of women in relation to their weight – one of the all-too-prevalent influences on women’s relationships with their bodies.  I think some of the pieces in the book could have been shorter, and there were maybe a few too many stereotypes in play, but overall this was a good read and a positive portrayal of American women today. I have several friends who hate every book I send them – so I might just send them this one next time.

 

*no, I did not receive compensation for this review, unless you consider a review copy of the book compensation. And it is true I can take that review copy to Powell’s and maybe get a few dollars toward another book, but that’s hardly enough to get me to perjure myself. I really did like the book.

 

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