A new monthly feature you'll see here is the Bombshell Book Club. An avid reader myself, I can't quite commit to joining a real book club. But a virtual version? Perfect. Each month, I'll let you know which book I'm reading and the date on which I'll review it for you. If you'd like to read along, you can comment on the review and let me know what you thought of the month's selection. Or you can choose to simply commit to memory the review and everyone else's comments, then pretend to your friends that you read the book. See? Fun!
We'll get things started with a review of a book that was sent to me by Three Rivers Press. The title caught my eye because it seemed particularly relevant to my approach to being a plus size woman:
Kim Brittingham is a blogger whose work has been published on iVillage, Salon & Fresh Yarn. In this memoir, the author sets out to share her personal journey from someone who despised her body and tried to diet her way to ultimate happiness to the woman she is today: one who has a healthy relationship with her plus size body and who rejects the notion of dieting and living up to the ideals of beauty set forth by society.
Brittingham weaves the stories of her life together to draw parallels between the life she lived as a child (one lacking love and consistency) to her relationship with food. She ate to fill the emotional voids left by parents who made her feel "less than" and like an outsider within the family. She writes of the extreme measures she took to diet away her perceived flaws - from causing her body to give her the scare of her life after an abusive bout with an all-protein diet, to becoming a counselor at (apparently, though not explicitly stated) Jenny Craig in an attempt to immerse herself in a lifestyle that she thought would finally make her thin.
The author also shares the key experiences that helped her claim for herself the feelings that she had about her body. She stopped looking outward for acceptance. She put her foot down when she didn't feel like she was being treated the way she deserved. She decided to use her body, in all its plus size glory, to create the life she wanted to live. If you've ever thought the key to ultimate happiness in your life would be the shedding of some serious pounds, this book might really reasonate with you.
I couldn't connect with Brittingham's voice. Her experiences were completely relatable (the emotional over-eating, the confusion over why one body type is desirable while another is not) but her tone was not. I felt less like a reader being engaged by a story and more like a sounding board for a variety of personal gripes and grudges held by the storyteller. It seems like a lot of those gripes and grudges could be valid. But they got in the way of my ability to connect with the author. I felt as though the book was written for her, not for the reader.
The book has been reviewed by several other bloggers who had different experiences than I did. You can check out reviews here, and here. And that, my friends, is the beauty of a book club. My opinion may not be your opinion. If you've read Read My Hips, leave a comment and let us all know what you thought.
The next book we'll chat about is The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment That Transformed Their Lives, by Cheryl Jarvis.
Review date will be June 7th, so get your copy and start reading!