TRIGGER WARNING: BOOK TOPIC IS ABOUT EATING DISORDERS
Kindle Price: Free!
Official Rating: 3/5
“Hate is a powerful word, especially when you’re using it against your own reflection.
In fourteen-year-old Lacey Steele’s world, being “skinny” equals no more caustic remarks comparing her to Shamu the Whale, meriting the attention of her ten-year crush aka the beautiful quarterback next door, and finally deserving her distant mother’s love- pretty much goddess status. But diets, nor health food, nor exercise bring Lacey desired results and her future looks everlastingly chubby.
Unexpectedly, Lacey and her friend Ashley stumble on an easier method. Extreme calorie cutting may seem a little drastic, but of course it’s better than … an eating disorder. Unfortunately, the easy route has a price neither girl planned to pay, but it comes due anyway, for one of them.
A story of hope and eventual acceptance, Skinniness is Next to Goddessness?Lacey’s Story, takes a brighter approach to an age old tale.
Book One in the Skinniness is Next to Goddessness? Series.”
In the Author’s Note, Keanini’s first sentence is, “An eating disorder, in any form, is never something to take lightly.” Then she explains that she’s “heard the criticism that if I write about such a heavy issue in a light, or as I like to think of it, bright manner, it slights the importance of the issue.” She goes on to say that she hopes Skinniness is Close to Goddessness? accomplishes the exact opposite. And it would have, if the eating disorder aspect of the story was focused on more.
Meeting Lacey Steele was an event that started off sad. You receive a glimpse into the life of rejection, insecurity, and disgust that she has lived since her days of being overweight. From being constantly teased by her peers to her mother always being ashamed of her, Lacey isn’t sure what to do with herself. As the story progresses, Lacey and her best friend, Ashley, as the synopsis says, “stumble on an easier method.”
Lacey Steele was somewhat of an admirable character. She has dealt with humiliation all of her life, yet she still hasn’t given up on herself yet. Although she is ashamed of her waistline and the number that shows up when she steps on a scale, she still hasn’t let herself go. Her first words to her sister and father after not seeing them for four years were, “So we’ll pretend the last four years never happened? Sounds like a plan to me. The kitchen rug seems plenty big enough to hide that amount of baggage.” Lacey was a real fourteen year old girl with insecurities, worries, concern for others, normal anger issues, and she was very loveable. She accepted things that came her way and found a way to deal with them, not always in a negative way like her eating disorder. I appreciate her as a character and her relationship with the other characters were adorably innocent.
My main issue with the book is that I don’t feel Keanini focused on the actual eating disorder that Lacey had. Even when something major impacts Lacey’s life, it still is eventually somewhat brushed off. There was romance, friendship, laughter, secrets uncovered, and so many other things in the plot, that Lacey’s struggle with an eating disorder was drowned out. There never seemed to be a solid exclamation from Lacey that she did struggle with eating and that she needed help. There was no wonderful conclusion that made my heart fill with pride at Lacey’s journey. Was I expecting Lacey to suddenly “cure” herself and be one with food and her body? No, that would not have been realistic. What I felt would have been realistic is Lacey realizing that she was battling an eating disorder; then the rest of the book would have been spent her reaching out for help and showing her struggle through it. I am disappointed that the story omitted such a take on eating disorders because I feel that telling young adults that eating disorders fade away because you focus on other things and attend a weekly support group isn’t right. That was the message that I received from Skinniness is Close to Goddessness? and that is the reason why it received 3/5 stars.
The romance part of the story was cute and I loved Lacey’s (pure) intimate relationship with the love interest. They talked to each other in an honest and loving way that was appropriate for fourteen year olds.
Would I recommend reading this book? Not if this may trigger you. It does talk about eating disorders and if it could cause you to relapse or plant harmful thoughts in your mind. Otherwise, it’s a rather light read about a serious subject. While I do feel it’s a bit too light, it wasn’t an awful read.