45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson | Book Review

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson | Book Review45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson
Publisher/Year: Viking Juvenile- July 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None -- this was her debut!
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

book synopsis Ann has been overweight for many years — she’s tried every diet under the sun, has felt pressure from her perfectly sized mother and she’s just come to accept it’s part of who she is. But when her aunt asks her to be a bridesmaid she decides she’s got to lose at least 45 pounds so that she can look her best for the wedding so she decides to try a diet that she finds on an infomercial. Ann takes on a job to pay for her new endeavor of losing weight and along the way learns a lot about herself, her family and meets some new friends along the way.

good books to readI know when I shared a bit about my thoughts for this blog in 2014, I said I was slowing down on reviews for this month but I absolutely HAD to tell you guys about this 2013 release before the year was over! 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson is one of the most underrated, hidden gems of the year! I really don’t think the summary does it justice at all. I really liked this one from start to finish!

It managed to be heartfelt and snort-worthy funny all at the same time and I just wish so many teenage girls, regardless of what size they are, would read this! I laughed and cringed and felt so, so bad for Ann during certain points. Ann’s story is something that I personally think everybody can relate to in different ways. Ann’s voice was authentic and memorable whether she was talking about how she feels about dieting efforts, the soul crushing embarrassment and shame she felt getting stuck in an article of clothing in a dressing room or the feeling of a new crush. And I loved that she wasn’t some cliche — she felt a person not a stereotype, she had friends, she wasn’t bullied but she had that pressure of her weight being a THING in her life. I could feel it all.

She’s not perfect and there was much growing and learning because of that but you will cheer for her along the way and you will FEEL for her even in her less likeable moments.  She knows some of the choices she makes aren’t the best but she makes them anyways and those moments are incredibly realistic. We’ve all been there in our own ways. We know how it feels to KNOW what we should do to help ourselves but the actual doing part is the struggle.

If you know me, you’d know I’ve never been overweight in my life. Not in the slightest. And that was the beauty of this novel, that it was so completely and wonderfully relatable. It’s hard to love your body — no matter what size you are — and Ann’s story captures those struggles and insecurities impeccably especially in relation to how others see us, how society pushes this picture of an ideal look and how our acceptance and self love for our bodies and ourselves will NEVER be tied to a size because that’s not something that can withstand all the external forces — media, society, family etc. No matter what size we are or how we dress or how we look there will always be somebody telling us we are doing it wrong, shaming us or telling us we could be doing it better. The tone of 45 Pounds is positive and I feel like it deals with these issues in a healthy way that recognizes there are many factors involved.

But more than how this book dealt with weight, body image and insecurities, I loved how this book was a lot about family and all the many dynamics that make up a family– especially in regards to blended families. I loved Ann and her mom’s relationship and watching the veil slip away on that was really beautiful. I related a lot because of the way my own mother saw her own body and the way she spoke of it.

book reviews45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson was a real gem of a read that I’m so glad I picked up. It made me laugh, made me tear up and made me think about this struggle that we ladies, and men too, deal with about the way we look. It wasn’t merely a story about an overweight girl desperately trying to lose weight, even though that is part of this novel, but it had a lot to do with those insecurities and roadblocks we all have within us. It was heartwarming and thoughtful and I so, so enjoyed it and think a lot of people could relate to this one and would enjoy Ann’s voice.

short book review45 Pounds (More or Less) by KA Barson

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one or heard of it? What did you think of it if you’ve read it? What other books have you read that deal with body image? I’ve also not come across a lot of MCs who are overweight and I don’t know if it’s because they are not represented much or if I’m just missing them!


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. I read it, loved it, and didn’t actually review it. It just… hits too close to home. And sometimes those are the hardest to write coherently about. But I definitely wish it got more attention than it did. This is one of those books that needs to be in the hands of teens when they start to feel self-conscious about their bodies.

    When Ann realizes what effect her habits (and her mom’s) are having on her 4 year old little sister – that was just heart breaking. And eye-opening. Definitely recommend.

  2. I love the cover. I will definitely have to read this one. I love to read stories of this nature. I myself, don’t have an issue with weight but it is hard to love your body no matter what size you are. I am not obsessed with my weight but sometimes I still can’t accept what I wake up to every morning. Thanks for the review and highlighting this book.

  3. Huh. This one isn’t one that I would have immediately picked up myself, but I do like the message presented. Self-love is so hard as a teen and even for adults. I may check this one out one day.

  4. I haven’t heard of this one, but I’m definitely going to check it out. In a society obsessed with looking perfect, this could prove to be an interesting commentary on what it’s like to be imperfect, because you’re right, there aren’t a lot of overweight main characters. I actually can’t think of a single one right now.

  5. I’ve been looking for an honest novel with a great message lately and this sounds like the one I’ve been looking for. Struggling to embrace your body and who you are is probably something everyone has felt and one I know I sure have! I’m glad there was also a strong family dynamic in this book – I love it when books are focused on families. It really just offers a lot of complexity to the story. From what you’ve said in your review, I really think I’m going to enjoy this so thank you so much for telling us about it! :)

  6. I definitely missed this book this year! Hopefully I can read it next year. I’m so happy there are books out there that deal honestly with body issues (especially if people of all shapes and sizes can relate to it)

  7. This book definitely flew under my radar this year! It sounds like an amazing book though, with the message of self-love and family. Definitely a plus that it’s funny as well. Hopefully I’ll get to read it in 2014!

  8. I saw this at Barnes and Noble a few months ago, but it disappeared when I went back to buy it! I’d forgotten about it till now, since it seemed that no one else had read it. I think part of the reason I left it alone was because it seems like a book that’s going to hit too close to home for me, since self esteem and weight has been the biggest monster in my life since high school. I don’t know if I want to bring all those feelings up!

  9. EXCELLENT review, Jamie! I agree — I think this was a book that really got overlooking in 2013 and it was one that I really loved! I totally agree. Regardless of what size, I’m sure we’ve all had body issues at some point in time and so many aspects of this book was just so relatable. So happy to see you really enjoyed this!

  10. I loved this book and definitely agree that it is a hidden gem. I wish it received more attention like Eleanor & Park! There are not enough books that explore body image in a healthy way and I liked seeing the exploration of Ann’s family relationships too.

  11. I despised this book and thought it should have never been published. It was supposed to be a positive message, but it made a couple of huge mistakes that can hurt teens struggling with weight loss.

    1. She lost a lot of weight WAY too fast. Like, an unhealthy pace. So any girls who read this and are struggling that don’t lose that fast and easily are going to feel worse about themselves. She lost two dress sizes and didn’t do that much. It doesn’t work that way for most people. What about the teenagers that cut down what they are eating, exercise five times a week and don’t lose weight as fast as this character does?

    2. They also said what weight she starts and ends at, which says to teens “x weight is fat” which is not true at all. Giving a number is just horrible. Months after reading the book, I remember the number.

    3. Her mother is a negative character in the book, but what she says is what is constantly said in our society. Even if she is called out for it, having those messages in this book just shows it again.

    I am glad this book was under the radar. Everyone has a right to their opinion, I just see this book as being VERY dangerous for teens who are already struggling.

  12. I think this book sounds incredibly awesome. I love that it tackled the idea of the difficulties of accepting the way you look, which is something every person deals with at some point in their lives. I also love that it read as relatable and sometimes funny to you — that makes it even more brilliantly done to me. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

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