Review: 45 Pounds (more or less)

Title: 45 Pounds (More or Less)
Author: KA Barson
Publisher: Viking/Penguin
Pub Date: July 11, 2013
Genre: YA 
Rec. Age Level: 12+
More by author: n/a

 Picture Me Gone

   

When Ann’s aunt announces she’s getting married – and that Ann will be in the wedding party – she knows that it’s now or never to lose the weight that’s been holding her back her whole life. Ann’s mother is a svelte perfectionist who, for years, has been pushing Ann to take control of her weight. Ann has tried every diet fad and tactic out there, all under the supervision of her mother, but this time things are going to be different. She forks over her savings for an infomercial diet that promises to be foolproof, finds a job to fund her weight loss method (she’s determined to do this without poking and prodding from her mother) and waits for the weight to melt away. But things aren’t so simple, not when it comes to changing her body… and not when it comes to changing what Ann sees every time she looks in the mirror. And, as she soon realizes, Ann isn’t the only one in her family with an unhealthy body image and relationship with food. It’s going to take more than five payments of $19.99 for Ann to achieve her happy ending.

Ann from 45 Pounds (more or less) is, more or less, me. Well, my high school self anyway. I like to think that I’ve achieved much of what Ann achieves by the end of the novel. But, all of the ups and downs regarding her weight – the self-loathing, the grudging acceptance, the moments of grim determination, and the times when weight loss seems impossible – were all too easy to relate to. I spent the entire book rooting for Ann and a fair amount feeling frustrated when she turned to bad habits (but only because I’d been there before and wanted to shout “Put down the french fries, Ann!! It’s not worth it – you have more to live for!” Ahem.). 

What I love most about this book though, is the positive changes that Ann and her family begin to accept after having meaningful and honest conversations. I truly hope that those who read 45 Pounds (more or less) will apply some of these changes (like positive language regarding food, weight, and eating) to their own lives. 

45 pounds (more of less) is, in my opinion, a must-read with an important message about adopting positive language and ideas of self-worth and being healthy in a society obsessed with shallow and unrealistic images of beauty.

Notable Quotes:

“And while the shape of my family might not match other families – or even what I imagined it should be – some pretty amazing people make room for me, watch out for me, and love me. Sometimes, even when I don’t know it. Make it so I fit. No matter what.”

“I change the channel to another movie. An old one, but new to me. And, ironically, a thin, gorgeous blonde—Meg Ryan, maybe—rides her bike on a country road. She smiles like she has no cares in the world. Like no one ever judges her. Like her life is perfect. Wind through her hair and sunshine on her face. The only thing missing are the rainbows and butterflies and cartoon birds singing on her shoulder.

Maybe I should grab my bike and try to catch up with Mom, Mike, and the kids. They can’t be going very fast. I would love to feel like that, even if it’s just for a second—free and peaceful and normal.
Suddenly, there’s a truck. It can’t be headed toward Meg Ryan. Could it? Yes. Oh my God. No! Meg Ryan just got hit by that truck.

Figures. See what happens when you exercise?”

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