Ann Galardi is a 16-year old girl, who wears a size 17. She has been in Weight Watchers four times since she was 10. She's struggled through diet after diet, only to lose a little and gain the weight back (and then some). Her mother is very thin, and her grandmother (jokingly) calls everyone "fat-ass." When Ann is asked to be a bridesmaid at her favorite aunt's wedding, she decides something needs to change! She ends up ordering a weight loss system off an infomercial, and gets a job at a mall pretzel shop to pay for it. As she juggles diet, exercise, a summer job, friends (and ex-friends), and a very blended family, she learns to be comfortable in her own skin.
I devoured (pun?) this book! From the infomercial product ordering (Nutrisystem didn't work for me...but Zumba and TurboFire did) to the embarrassing, dress debacle in the dressing room...I've been there. I've struggled with my weight all my life, but hit my breaking point about 4 years ago and lost 50 lbs. But I was that overweight 16-year old up through college and the first half of grad school- trying to shop in cute stores that didn't have anything in my size. I was cheering for her, and empathizing with her, through the whole thing!
K.A. Barson did a great job of portraying what a lot of girls go through in their journey to a healthier lifestyle. From poring over product websites, looking at before & after pictures, to eating a bunch of crap in one-sitting, because "after tomorrow...". She also did a good job portraying how relationships can change: mother-daughter, father-daughter, brother-sister, stepparent-stepchild, old friends, new friends.
I appreciated, too, that it wasn't extremely focused on eating disorders. While I also tend to be drawn toward those (Fat Chance, Wintergirls, The Best Little Girl in the World) it is nice to see a different perspective on weight loss. Those books are very good, but can also be very...draining.
I would recommend this to anyone who is struggling, or has struggled with weight. I would also recommend it to those interested in mother-daughter relationships, and anyone who likes pretzels (cuz seriously, the whole time I was reading, I wanted a pretzel...with nacho cheese...and still do.)
45 Pounds (More or Less) is published by Viking/Penguin Group (USA). ARC provided by NetGalley.
Release date: 7.11.13