This is an easy, pleasant read. As a frequent dieter myself, I could empathise with Jemima’s food struggles (one of the two bacon sandwiches she orders is ‘for my boss’).
Initially I found Jane Green’s writing style to be over- simplistic but soon got into the rhythm of Jemima’s character. And I do love a good re-invention story, whether it’s a ‘rags to riches’ affair, or in Jemima’s case, a fabulous makeover.
Let’s not forget there’s nothing as rewarding as hard work paying off (and if you’re anything like me, reading about it can be just as satisfying as doing it yourself!)
As I gobbled up Jemima’s dramatic weight loss following rigorous gym sessions, I could almost hear Kate Moss’s smug voice, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”.
Jemima J is not your typical heroine – 100 pounds overweight and thoroughly miserable, her only pleasure in life is food.
Bored and blue, Jemima stumbles into the world of online dating, falling for an American hunk. After some chat-room flirting, our hunk – naturally – requests a photo. Abusing her photo editing privileges at work, Jemima undertakes a little Photoshop magic to shrink her image down to a size 8 – and behold, JJ is born.
JJ is slim, tan and confident. A little hair, makeup and wardrobe overhaul and she is no longer recognizable as the girl she once was.
Of course, a trip to the States to meet the hunk must follow and the inevitable questions about life, love and self-discovery.
When we first meet our heroine, Jemima’s outlook is pretty bleak. Fat, unhappy and constantly bullied by her slender flatmates, her only consolation is in food.
It’s a story that’s easy to relate to. I doubt there’s many of us girls who haven’t dieted, or strongly disliked something about their body at one time or another.
Jemima spirals deeper into a black hole – being overweight makes her unhappy, and being unhappy makes her reach for the biscuits. We feel sorry for her and empathize with her plight, but in no way did I find her to be a pitiful character.
Jemima reveals hidden depths of strength and willpower ahead of her impending trip to America to meet Brad (although isn’t it sad she has to find her initial motivation in a man?) She hides the cream cakes, hits the gym and life starts to look up.
Jemima is warm, funny and honest. A relatable and goodhearted heroine – I’d love to find out what she’s up to in a sequel.
The story is peppered with some worthy values about life, love and finding inner contentment in a frequently shallow world. Having said that, I wonder how overweight ladies would feel reading this book.
Initially, Jemima’s weight renders her invisible amongst the other characters in the book. Her love interest wants a slim woman and Jemima’s life is only ‘fixed’ when a drastic diet melts the fat away. The message is very clear – fat is out, and thin is in.
While the message that society treats attractive – and slim – people more kindly may somewhat grate, this book is a pleasant read.
Personally, I didn’t find it to be fat-shaming, rather a fun tale of one woman’s determination to make over her looks and life. Those more sensitive may be less forgiving.
The perfect novel for a lazy afternoon’s easy indulgence, without using up too much brainpower. Best accompanied with a bag of low-fat popcorn to ward off any calorie-related guilt.
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