Shrink to Fit - Dona Sarkar | BISP Month

Good morning everyone!

You are extremely lucky this week because I will be reviewing two books for the Body Image and Self Perception Month hosted by Jo at Once Upon a Bookcase. Yay!

Summary from Amazon:
Losing weight is the solution to all basketball star Leah's problems, or so she thinks. Getting super thin will help her game, make her look like America's next top model and get the attention of the school hottie. At first it seems great - she gets the attention of the guy and everyone says how good she looks. But the problem is that Leah doesn't feel good - and her life's taking a turn for the worse, despite her new "perfect body"...


This is a powerful story that needs to be read. I found that the plot and the characters really gave the theme of anorexia and eating disorders an interesting dimension without making it look negative or disgusting.

The story is told from the point of view of Leah with a third person narrator. There is enough distance for the reader to feel for Leah and think "But what are you doing to yourself Leah?" at the same time.

I thought the characters were really well developed and all very different one from the other. I really liked the fact that there was so much diversity in the book, it looks much more real than the stories plagued by complete uniformity. It was also interesting to read about the various characters' origins and how they lived with their own traditions in the American society. I really felt it is one of the strongest point of the book in the sense that no matter their origin, the idea of being thin to fit a certain canon of beauty is the same. The book reflected that all the girls, no matter how beautiful they are, want to look like someone else to fit in. Leah's confusion resonates in all the other female characters and it makes the issue of eating disorders universal and not just a question of "being thin". Instead of praising individuality and personality, the beauty advertised in magazines and in the media is specific, hence what I call the clone invasion thanks to plastic surgery. You probably have walked in a street in a big city and feared to have entered another dimension because all the girls look the same.

I found that the process which Leah goes through is a bit quick but believable, in the sense that Leah doesn't aim at being anorexic, she just aims at being thinner and fit in, not do the "extreme stuff anorexics do". The fact that Leah constantly denies being anorexic or even having an eating disorder is interesting. There is one point on which I feel I need to comment though: there is a difference (a bridge, a mountain and three oceans) between being an anorexic and eating junk food. I don't understand why it has to be one or the other. Maybe it's easier for me to say that since I may have a different approach to food and eating (I've noticed the difference when I went to live in the US for a while), but you can eat delicious healthy meals which don't make you fat and where you don't need to starve yourself. I found that the book didn't really talk about that and I found it was a shame, because you can eat, you just need to eat healthy food full of what your body needs. I'm not entirely sure the book succeeds in not making eating look like a sin or something you should repent.

It was interesting to read that guys don't like skinny girls in the book and that the whole concept of them actually liking girls because they are skinny only exists in girls' imagination. If you read too much books like me you would definitely see a conspiracy by evil forces to encourage girls to care about their weight in order for them not to think about being independent and taking the power (which is rightfully theirs - of course). I liked also the reaction (even if late) to Leah's weight loss by her love interest Jay and her mother. 

I would definitely advise this book to people. The theme of anorexia is treated with a lot of sensibility and the book is very well written and presents a very interesting diversity in terms of culture. But I would advise a healthy food cooking book to read along :).

1 comment:

  1. An extraordinary review Caroline. I love the depth of analysis. I confess that this isn't something I've ever felt the need to read about. It seems so depressing that people can get so hung up o their appearance but at the same time, I know it is true. I guess I read to escape our world. Anyway, this is a great review.

    BTW, I've missed you. I have hardly tweete you all week.