Updated: Feb 27
"Whenever Bea stepped into patisserie to order something for herself, there were ripples of sideward glances, even occasional bald stares, the accusation always implied: It's your own fault you look like this."
"Even though my date didn't say or do anything to make me feel unattractive, being in that bar surrounded by thin people (ah, Los Angeles), it was perilously easy to backslide into this ubiquitous idea that I'd be so much more happier if only I looked like them."
Written by Kate Stayman-London, this book tells the story of Bea Schumacher, a plus-sized social media influencer and fashion blogger. The book breaks down her life, revealing how she became the woman she is in the book. While touching on the struggles she faced for being larger than the majority of the world that she lived in. However, the main focus of the book reflects specifically on how she landed her dating show where men compete for her affection.
Normally, I absolutely love when books have diversity within them like showing different races and body types as the lead roles. This, however, was not at all what I had anticipated it would be. I don't usually like talking down about books, but I did not enjoy any piece of this book whatsoever. As a plus-sized woman, I thought I would relate to the main character seeing as many of the overweight community frequently have similar stories and feelings. Instead, I felt like this was a terrible representation of larger women or larger people as a whole. Repeatedly in the book, the author tried causing us to sympathize with a woman who constantly insulted others for being thin or not finding her appealing. I hate when others attempt to make people feel awful for having a preference in what they like. I think this is something that should be unencouraged, you cannot claim someone is fat shaming you just because they don't find you attractive. Meanwhile, Bea spends years of her life obsessing over one man that she constantly describes as a "perfect" or "model-like" man. She is an entire hypocrite. She thinks it's okay for her to be attracted to a certain type of man but if anyone else is unattracted to her then it's wrong.
Not only was the hypocrisy bothersome, but her outlook on the world was also disturbing. Every place she went, she let her insecurities cause her to believe ill in others. Claiming she was being judged for her weight simply because people looked at her. It's an unhealthy thing to assume the worst of others because you have a hard time believing people could be looking at you and thinking something positive. She criticized restaurants, shops, and bars just because she felt out of place without anyone doing anything to make her feel this way. I understand what insecurity is because I likewise suffer it at times. However, I don't think that is an excuse to condemn others who have done nothing to deserve it.
The final thing I detested about this book was the writing format. I feel like fifty percent of this book contained nothing but texts, emails, blog postings, and other news outlets. It took me out of the story more than a few times. Mostly because not only did I already not feel like a connection with any of the characters, this was just a lazy way to describe what happened in the story. Rather than showing news postings and texts, I would have liked seeing the main character experience it and go through the emotions of things. She didn't. So it felt lazy and utterly boring.
The character overall was annoying, rude, hypocritical, and one-note. As I did not complete the book, she likely got better in the end, but I just personally could not stomach this. I may try once more in the future.