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Friday, June 17, 2011

Variety is the Spice of Life...and of Books

Hi there readers!
It's Thursday and whew has it been a week here.  How about you?  Whether crazy, calm or something in between, I hope it's been treating you right.  For a little added fun, don't forget to get your entries in for a chance to win My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody....just click the link in the right hand tool bar under "Current Contests".

Anywho, it's a new day and time for a new post...what shall we review?  We started the week off with a little mouse with a big dream, turned Wednesday's corner with a horror-ific we take things in an entirely new and unexpected direction.  The featured title is from a genre I don't tend to frequent but this one intrigued me with not only it's unusual title but the potential story shared.  Ready for the big reveal?  Today's book of choice is....

How I Learned to Love My Body Ditch Dieting and Live Large

From the publisher...

Too many women put life off until they are “thin enough.” They hold back on going after that new job, taking that dream vacation, or asking out that handsome stranger because they don’t feel that they deserve happiness at their current weight. Kim Brittingham once experienced that same struggle - until she learned how to love her self unconditionally, find her confidence, and fully enjoy her life.

With READ MY HIPS: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting, and Live Large (Three Rivers Press Original, on sale May 3, 2011) Kim offers an unflinching, humorous, and uplifting memoir about food, fashion, love, body image, along with straight advice about how to ditch anything that hurt your self-esteem and get to living a life where moments – not calories – truly count.
I know, you're shocked right?  A self help style book on my site....gasp shock and awe.  But admit it, you're intrigued.  I had to see just what this author had to say about it all after that little intro.  What I expected was a marginally interesting read with a few pointers on living life to its fullest whether that's in size or grandeur, what I got was happily a bit more with a few spots of discomfort along the edges.  Allow me to explain.

This book is part memoir, part self help in the fact that you get to see life through the author's eyes, but also gain a bit of insight to better help you come to a place of understanding and acceptance about your body image.  There are times you will around page 19 where you get the infamous 'Sixteen Candles' quote...

Samantha:  Hey, but a lot can happen in a year.  You could come back next fall as a completely normal person.
Farmer Ted (considering for a moment):....Really?
Samantha:  (shrugging)  Sure.
--Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall

There are times you will when she is rejected by this butt of a guy who doesn't deserve the time of day even.  There are times you'll be shocked....such as the snack raids her and her fellow diet center workers had on unsuspecting boxes of diet peanut butter bars.  There are times you will take notes and try things for unleashing your inner 'Marilyn Monroe' with a strut (totally works....totally).  It's an interesting mix of life experience and lessons gleaned and shared from the heart.  The strength that it took to go through some of those experience and then to share them with the world in such a frank manner....if we were holding votes for world's strongest woman, she'd have to be amongst the contestants. 

I respect and am all for the way the author came to terms with her self image and realized that it had no bearing (or rather shouldn't have any bearing) on her self value.  No one is less worthy of love, respect, acknowledgement, etc simply because of their weight or lack thereof.  There were times though that I was uncomfortable as a reader.  The derrogatory nature of the terms "fat", "overweight", even "big" that our society has ingrained in us versus her comfort level (or perceived comfort level) with throwing them around left me squirming.  I mean, okay...I admit it.  I'm not the thinnest person on the planet by any means nor am I the largest but even if I was I don't think I could truly accept those terms into my own vocabulary to openly refer to myself.  Just a personal quirk perhaps, but one that struck me while reading nonetheless.

Though diets were more of a fad in my house, I can certainly understand where the author was coming from with the mention of the "let's do this" attitude as opposed to the eventual "do we have to do this" mentality.  It takes A LOT of commitment to stick to a regimented diet and the more restrictions there are, the easier temptation can step up its game and knock you off your high horse.  I remember Mom trying a diet or two in my youth and while I never thought she needed one, she did....that was what mattered.  Did they work?  Sure....for a while, but the true change of image came later in life when she found that middle road that worked for her.  Some of the lifestyle chances she made along the way even stuck with the family.  Changes like moving from whole milk to skim, regular cola to diet....they seem little and insignificant, but they add up along the way. 

The moral of the's not bad if you're "big", but your health is another matter altogether.  Striking a balance between these two opposites as well as your own happiness is truly the most we can hope for out of life...and we should accept nothing less.  My personal healthy and in moderation.  Start making those choices early (even's never too late) and it will become a part of your body's make up allowing you to have your salad and eat your cake too.

Recommended read for older teens and adult readers interesting in the life and times of a fellow traveller on this crazy road we call life or simply looking for someone who has "been there done that and is going back for more".  You'll laugh a little, learn a lot and best of all learn the meaning of unconditional acceptance as it applies to others as well as yourself.  Review copy courtesy of Jonathan at Crown Trade Paperbacks / Random House, Inc.  (THANKS!)  For more information regarding this title as well as the Three Rivers Press full catalog, feel free to visit them online or follow along on Twitter.  To find out more about the powerhouse behind the book itself, seek out the author online at Kim Writes.

Until next time....happy reading!


Misha said...

No one is less worthy of love, respect, acknowledgement, etc simply because of their weight or lack thereof.

So true! I have seen many people close to me suffer from weight related issues. What is most important is accepting oneself just the way we are.
I am not a fan of self-help books but something like this can really help out people with self-image problems.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Wow. Sounds amazing. I love the sound of this one!

My inner Marilyn? I like that :)

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Great review. Sounds like an awesome book!

Gina said...

Misha: My thoughts exactly.

Juju: was an interesting trip and the Marilyn thing, you should totally try it. ^_^

Dorothy Dreyer: Different and interesting yes...

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