Publisher/Year: Viking Juvenile- July 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
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!
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.
I 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.
45 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.
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!