Saturday, March 22, 2014

Review: How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker

"Thick. Heavy. Big boned. Plump. Full figured. Chunky. Womanly. Large. Curvy. Plus-size. Hefty." To sixteen-year-old Emery Jackson, these are all just euphemisms for the big "F" word—"fat." Living on a Southern California beach with her workout fiend dad, underwear model sister, and former model mother, it is impossible for Emery not to be aware of her weight.
Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her "momager" signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom, a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family's financial woes. Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame. Emery knows that things have changed. But is it for the better?

If Bridget Jones had grown up as an American teenager in this decade, I imagine she would be a lot like Emery.

In How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love, Emery Jackson is a sarcastic, brutally honest, funny girl who just happens to be obese. Her family are all fitness buffs and she's the only one who prefers eating to exercise and dieting. However, because of her family's financial woes, she's forced to agree to her mother's plans for her and her family to star in a reality television show. Her show is a success but as it turns out, her reality is about to get a lot more complicated.

Before I entered college, I was super thin and had trouble gaining weight. It was only in the last two years of college that I gained weight. At that time, the weight gain bothered me but I didn't really do anything about it because eating while studying seemed like the most natural thing in the world. I slimmed down again after college and only started to gain weight before I got pregnant. Right now, I've lost most of the baby weight, but the pounds that remain are all in my stomach. Emery is relatable to me because even though I'm almost half her weight, I really like food and I find it hard to cut out sweets right now because I stopped eating them while I was pregnant and now I'm sort of making up for lost time.

What I like about Emery is that she doesn't pull any punches. She's sarcastic without really being mean, and she loves herself for who she is, while at the same time not being in denial about the need to be healthy and lose weight.

I don't know how real the portrayal of the reality show behind-the-scenes action is but it certainly sounds plausible.

The only thing that kept me from rating this as 5-stars was the ending. I felt unsatisfied with it. It felt like there were a lot of loose ends. Maybe there's going to be a sequel?

Thanks to NetGalley and Running Press Kids for the e-ARC. Publication date of How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love is on April 22, 2014.


  1. Emery is funny.
  2. You get to see what it's like to be a reality TV star.
  3. The book acknowledges healthy versus unhealthy weight loss methods.


  1. The ending doesn't feel satisfying.

There's In-N-Out, where normally I like to order two "Double-Doubles," large fries, and a chocolate shake. And there's Old Faithful: Mickey D's and its to-die-for vanilla shakes and Big Macs with blissful special sauce.And across the street sits the twofer culinary heaven of Carl's Jr. and the Green Burrito, a genius concept featuring an all-American burger joint and a Mexican eatery - under the very same roof! Then there's Carl's Jr., whose Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger and its glorious stack of two beef patties, two slices of American cheese, crispy onion rings, and "tasty BBQ sauce on a toasted sesame seed bun" is so good California should legally classify it as a narcotic.

  1. You liked the Bridget Jones series.
  2. You like characters that tell it like it is.
  3. You're a fan of reality TV.




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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