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Book Tour: SKINNY by Diana Spechler


Publisher: Harper Perennial
Soft Cover (trade size): 337 pages + p.s...insights, interviews, & more

my review/summary:
Sometimes I forget that not everybody looks at a book from the same perspective.  I see the food.  I focus and connect certain events and circumstances to food and eating, and the next person may not look at things that way.  I'm not saying that I only read "foodie" novels...far from it, actually.  What I am saying is that most people probably wouldn't even look at Skinny as a foodie novel.  I do.  Kind of.  I mean, come on.  The title alone suggests food...or rather, eating.  Emotional eating, to be exact.  Eating to try to get relief or hide from the pain of guilt, or the death of a loved one, or as a side-effect of being in an unhealthy relationship. Brought up with an overweight father and a tiny, portion-conscious mother, Gray shifts from being a mirror of her mother's habit to constantly craving food and wanting to eat after the death of her father.  She's filling the newly-formed hole in her life with eating and food...which in turn leaves little room for anything else.  Things she was previously so sure of like her career, her boyfriend, her "direction"...they all become fuzzy in the haze of food that has taken over her life.

When another strange turn leads her to becoming a (highly unqualified) counselor at a (highly questionable) "fat camp" for children, she devotes one last night to food before falling into another hole. (Filled with sex.  'Nuff said?)  While seeing young kids all around her battling with their own weight and food, she is mostly content to feel skinny (compared to her current company).  When out one night during this "fat camp" period, she's faced with the smell and food of a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant.  She's stronger than I would be at that moment in time, because while all she wanted was "to leap off (her) bar stool, scald (her) fingers on the sautéed peppers, bury (her) tongue in the sour cream and pico de gallo..." I don't think I could have resisted that temptation.  Even with a sexy specimen of man sitting next to me...thigh to thigh.  I mean, hello...pico and warm chips!  But, I digress.

What happens when "fat camp" goes up in gigantic, scarey, legal flames?  What happens when the sex that filled the hole (no pun intended) is no longer there...does food step back in to claim its rightful spot?  Perhaps for a while.  For Gray, it does.  For a while.  Until she is able to forgive herself...forgive her father...forgive her mother...forgive the world.  In her final "Dear Fat People" letter (a remnant from camp), I believe Gray is beginning to get it when she writes, "You wonder why we hate you?  You are the visible manifestation of the parts of ourselves we hide."  Self-realization.

While I do feel sort of crass saying FAT and SKINNY, this book was about extremes.  There was one and there was the other.  The (main) characters were not quite sure about the "in-betweens".  I enjoyed this book, somewhat.  Not so much that I have to make it a permanent fixture on my sagging bookshelf...but enough that I will pass it on to others as opposed to dropping it in the nearest Goodwill box and never looking back.  It's worth a try, and if nothing else, it is a quick, easy read.

*I received a free copy of this book to read and review as part of the TLC Book Tours.  All opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.
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