45 Pounds (More or Less) by Kelly Barson
Posted by Caitie F on July 1, 2013
Summary from pub:
Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 2 months, and wants Ann to be a bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less).
Welcome to the world of informercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, endless run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—and some surprises about her not-so-perfect mother.
And there’s one more thing—it’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin—no matter how you add it up!
I don’t think I have ever not given a rating before, but I really can’t for this book. There were some really great parts, which I will get to, but there was something that bothered me so much that I cannot actually recommend this book to anyone.
From the title and description, you can probably tell that a lot of this book deals with weight loss. Since it is a young adult book, it deals with teens and weight loss. While the last sentence of the description says “It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin – no matter how you add it up!” I didn’t really get that impression from this book. Maybe I am being overly sensitive, but if I am, others are going to be also.
Ann’s mom is just nasty sometimes. Everyone’s positive comments are about losing weight, not about the fact that Ann is caring and kind, other than her new friend who is the shining star of this book. Everything is based on looks and as someone who has struggled and does not have a good body image, all that talk made me feel bad about myself.
I am glad the book showed that the pills on those infomercials are dangerous and the character is smart enough to stop without anything bad happening. That is good. But here is my biggest problem – she still lost a significant amount of weight in not much time and it wasn’t that hard. She had some cravings, sure, but she didn’t have to do much to lose the weight and drop two entire dress sizes.
Not only is it unrealistic and much more difficult for most people, but it is dangerous. What about the teenagers that cut down what they are eating, exercise five times a week and don’t lose weight as fast as this character does? The books comes out over the summer, so readers can easily see it also as a guide. She loses more than 2 pounds a week, which really can be dangerous
Also, I really hate that there were any starting weight numbers. We all have different body sizes and shapes and those numbers mean different ranges of healthy for different people, but it drove in the message to me that “x number is fat enough that you feel bad” and “x is a number where people are judging you”. It also uses BMI a couple times, which isn’t the most reliable way to measure.
Ann’s mom is supposed to be a negative role model in the book with her obsession with food and Ann does confront her about it, but a lot of what she says is being repeated to all of us constantly. It adds to body image issues we have in this country. This book made me feel bad about myself while reading it, I can’t image how it would make a young adult struggling with this feel.
If you don’t think that would be an issue, there are great things about this book. I love Ann. She felt real and things she was dealing with felt real. Her new friend is amazing. She is the kind of person we all wish we had in our lives. I also liked the cute guy in this book because he is interested in her before she loses any weight and is just a sweet person. It deals with tough family issues in a realistic way, even though a couple characters are more caricatures.
Even with all that, I cannot recommend this book to any young adults. I wish there was another book about this character and this family that didn’t revolve around weight and didn’t show such negativity. I could recommend that book to everyone. However, this isn’t that book.