Book Club Friday: Skinny

19 Aug

Its Book Club Friday! Today I am reviewing Skinny by Diana Spechler.  And boy, is there an earful to cover here.

On the back cover:
After her father’s death, twenty-six-year-old Gray Lachmann finds herself compulsively eating.  Desperate to stop bingeing she abondons her New York City life for a job at a southern weight-loss camp.  There among the warring egos of her devious co-counselor,  the self-aggrandizing camp director,  his attractive assistant, and a throng of combative teenage campers, she is confronted by a captivating mystery:  her teenage half-sister, Eden, whom Gray never knew existed.  Now, while unraveling her father’s lies, Gray must tackle her own self-deceptions and take control of her body and her life. 

Skinny illuminates a young woman’s struggle to make sense of the link between hunger and emotion, and to make peace with her demons, her body and herself.

My thoughts:
I wasn’t the biggest fan of Gray, but I don’t know that the reader is supposed to be.  Gray is depressed, unsympathetic and makes poor choices, but given her situation I probably would be all of the above, too.  Spechler describes in great detail things with which I am all too familiar, obesity and binge eating are recurring topics.  Gray describes her overweight campers and her severely overweight father in almost uncomfortable detail, the author definitely paints vivid pictures of all the prominent characters.

I didn’t love this book, and I’m not sure if I even liked it, but it did make me think.  Given my own weight issues I found the subject matter really interesting.  Having read novels like Jemima J that deal with extreme weight loss, it was interesting to read some weight related fiction from a different perspective.

Excerpt from an interview with the author where in she explains the idea behind Skinny:
At some point in my early adulthood, it occurred to me that most people I knew had body image issues or unhealthy relationships with food.  People are shackled to sugar or salt or GNC or plastic surgery of their skinny jeans or their elastic wastband sweatpants.  Roomfuls of bodies sit on stationary bikes and pedal nowhere, drenched in sweat.

We eat a casual handful of M&Ms, and then can’t stop looking at the M&M bowl.  We weigh ourselves five times a day or have never been on a scale.  We call women whose bodies we envy “anorexic” and people with weight problems lazy.

We push seconds and thirds on our loved ones.  We eat ice cream that makes us sick and then chase it with Lactaid.  We count calories.  We count fat grams.  We deprive ourselves of carbohydrates until our bodies produce ketones and our mouths taste like nail polish remover.

Finally, we binge on croissants.  We avoid mirrors.  We worship mirrors.  We raid the fridge in the middle of the night.  We buy Spanx.  We celebrate with cake.  We drink protein shakes.  We photoshop.

Just on the other side of all this effort is a lot of pain.  I felt desperate to explore it.  Because weight loss camps are microcosms of the racket that is the diet industry, I thought I should infiltrate one.  So I worked at a weight loss camp for 10-weeks.  Skinny is based on that experience.

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4 Responses to “Book Club Friday: Skinny”

  1. Heather August 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Wow…Everything the author says is so true. And it’s insane that she actually worked at a camp for research!

  2. jennie August 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    I’ve heard of this book but it’s never really been a ‘must read.’ Knowing that she actually worked at a camp, though, has me reconsidering. Thanks for sharing!

    • victoria67 August 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

      what an interesting book/idea.

      happy friday!

  3. Nikki August 19, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this! Me being a person with weight issues all my life am always interested to ready anything in that topic.

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