Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.
Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.
And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!
(Description from Goodreads)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Once again, it has taken me forever to not only read a book to review, but to write the review as well. I try to avoid inserting my personal life into my reviews, but because I just recently started my new job as a high school librarian, other aspects (like this blog) have taken a backseat for the moment. I appreciate my followers for hanging in there with me! On to the review…
I really connected with this book on several levels. Not too often is the subject of weight made the main issue with YA books, which is odd considering how influential a teenager’s weight is during those years. I’m sure there are many teenagers who are perfectly happy with their bodies, but there are many who are not. Typically, it is only thought of that being overweight is the worse thing possibly for a teenager (or anybody really), but there is also the issue of being underweight. But I’ll touch on that later, since that does play a major part in the main character’s growth in the book. Either way, weight plays a pivotal role in 45 Pounds (More or Less).
Ann has been overweight for as long as she can remember. Of course, like with anyone dealing with weight issues, there’s a time when you thought you couldn’t get any bigger than you were, but your body proves you wrong. That is what Ann has been dealing with her whole life. Like anyone else who wants to lose some weight, Ann has tried everything from fad diets to fad exercises. But one thing Ann hasn’t tried is what might save her: being healthy.
I saw so much of my teenage self in Ann while reading this book. Even now, I hate shopping for clothes like Ann did. Like Ann, there are certain parts of my body that I want to change so that I will enjoy more aspects of life, like shopping for clothes. This book was easy to relate to for me, and I’m sure many teenagers would find the same to be true for them. This isn’t a book that will make you decide right then and there to change your life around, but it will make you think and it will make you smile because there’s a character that “gets” you. Even if you have never been overweight, there is still something to be said for this book on the issue of weight in general. Ann learns that while someone may not be overweight, there can be other things that person may dislike about their body, such as their straight nose or their wide hips or broad shoulders. You never truly know what a person may be dealing with or feeling about their own body, so never assume or make judgments.
This book did a good job at not including too many stereotypes about certain people. Whenever a movie about young adults comes out, it always seems like the thin girls are the stuck up ones and the fat girls are the losers who no one likes. Not true in real life and not true in this book. Sure, there are plenty of girls who are stuck up, but that is not a direct connection with their weight, rather just with their personalities. While Ann may be overweight, she is still well-known at her school, is smart, and attracts the attention of a guy she meets at her work, sometime rarely seen in movie portrayals. Likewise, Ann’s friend she makes later in the book is part of a skinny clique, but doesn’t fit the stereotype of a skinny girl – she’s actually nice to Ann and wants to hang out with her! Shocking, right? Not really, considering that’s how real life is, not like what is depicted in movies. Thanks, Hollywood.
There were so many aspects of this book that I loved, including the background information about why Ann turned to food for comfort and general background information on her family. So much of Ann’s life was awkward, but that is part of the joy of maturing and growing up during those years. While there were many parts of this book that I loved, there were several that I didn’t enjoy quite as much, which resulted in my rating. First point is that Ann seems to turn to food when she’s upset or dealing with some unhappy aspect of her life. It always seems like the kids that are overweight are depressed or eat when they are upset. I feel like just once I’d like to see a portrayal of a happy teenager, who just happens to also be overweight. That’s pretty realistic too, I think. Of course, the book didn’t end up showing Ann as a depressed overweight teenager, so it ended on a good note! I also wish there had been some more examples of things Ann tried to lose weight. The book touched on fad informercial diets, the idea of “I’ll start tomorrow” (I’m famous for that), and giving up on exercising after not seeing results, but I feel like other aspects (like eating healthier) could have been drawn out a little more. Not too much though, otherwise it would have felt like too much fluff, but a little bit more could have really helped with the storyline.
Even if you have never dealt with being overweight, this book has something for everyone. It doesn’t end with Ann being a completely new person, but it is realistic in the sense that with hard work, determination, and the will to succeed, it is possible to lose weight and become a healthier person. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. There IS hope.