Review: How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker

20131130-204119.jpgThere is an unnatural, unhealthy obsession with being perfect in today’s world. We are constantly bombarded with images of celebrities who have been airbrushed within an inch of their lives. Young girls especially are being inundated with the message that who and what they are is never good enough. Spray tans, teeth whitening, diet pills, fiendish workouts, liposuction, eating disorders, plastic surgery…you name it and it must be done in the name of beauty.

Sixteen year old Emery has always presented herself to the world as a happy, funny, self-deprecating person despite being an extremely overweight teenager. On the inside, how, she is an emotional mess. Her life is far from perfect. Dad Jasper is an ex-NBA player now obsessed with working out and presenting the right image to the public. He is also an absent, uninvolved parent. Mom Brandi is the ultimate trophy wife determined to stay thin and young. And sister Angel is an aspiring model/reality show star who also happens to be shallow and self-absorbed. Is it any wonder Emery has issues with food and body image? She copes with these feelings by binge eating. Her boyfriend Ben, who is also overweight, professes to love her just the way she is. When her family is approached by a famous reality show producer with a tempting offer, Emery and her family can’t resist. For the promise of a million dollar payday, she agrees to subject herself to the scrutiny of the viewing public as she attempts to lose 50 pounds in 50 days. The dark side of the reality show world is revealed as she attempts to reach this goal. She also must face some hard truths about her family and especially herself if she hopes to ever be healthy both physically and emotionally.

I loved this book and read it in one day. It was that hard to put down. Emery’s sharp wit, sarcasm, and sense of humor carried the story. You can clearly tell that she’s using humor to cover up a much deeper pain. I was pulling for her from the very beginning to succeed in spite of her callous, narcissistic family. At first glance it might seem as if this book is an endorsement for the “Hollywood business” of being perfect. Emery does spend a great deal of time trying to achieve the unattainable goal of being perfect. But the story goes deeper than that. It’s a message that what we see on TV and in magazines is in fact NOT reality. Emery does want to be skinny and pretty. What young woman doesn’t? But she also struggles with doing what she knows is the right, healthy thing to do. This book is categorized as a young adult book, and I do think older, more mature teens, girls especially, would appreciate and benefit from the story. Use caution, however, with younger teens as the language is a bit harsh and sex is mentioned on more than one occasion. A humorous, fun to read story with a great message!

~Thalia

Buy it Now: How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love

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