For my March Biography Book, I went outside the box and picked a Memoir. I was also able to review this book as part of Blogging For Books, which is a website that sends bloggers books to review. Once you post your review of the book, you can request another book to review. It’s a great site that I’m excited to be working with. All of the opinions of this book and any that I review are my own and I am not being paid to review them. **If only I was lucky enough to get paid to read!! Anyway, onto the review.
I picked this book because Andie has struggled with her weight and food and I thought that since I myself have been on a weight loss journey I would probably find it interesting. I did, but I also found it a struggle and kind of sad to hear how she felt and the struggles that she faced. I was never as large as she was and I didn’t consider myself fat, but it is a real struggle when you realize you need to make a change and accept that it won’t be easy.
The book started with her as a child and I instantly felt sorry for her. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother worked many jobs to support them. She felt so alone and turned to food for comfort. It was hard to read this part of the book because it makes you think of your family and how they are. I worry about my children and if they hide emotions from us. (I did reassure myself that my children are happy and I would notice if they were sad and lonely).
As the story progressed and Andie grew older, she accepted herself and her imperfections. I know that feeling. I was relieved to read this part, it seemed real to me. She had what seemed to be a very nice high school experience. She learned along the way and had a wonderful personality and people didn’t treat her as the fat girl. Only on a few occasions did she put herself down, mostly she accepted herself, which freed her of the guilt she felt and allowed for happiness to find her.
As she went away to college, she was accepted (except on a rare occasion) and happy. As the college years added up, so did her weight. When her mom arrived one day, after not seeing her for a while, she was shocked at how big Andie had gotten. It was the look on her mother’s face that told her it was time to take weight loss seriously. She did just that. She lost weight and learned to control portions. She found that she didn’t need the food as comfort. It wasn’t easy. She found doctors that helped her. She was prescribed medication to help. The doctor told her “The medication won’t make you happier or fix any of your problems, but it will help to lift the heavy cloud that is weighing you down and making you feel hopeless.”
She discovered exercise to help her weight loss and to help relax her after a long day of work (here is where it got a little close to home). She enjoyed her workouts and knew that they helped her to reach her goals, but what she wasn’t expecting was the problem: “Although I’d worked hard to mend my disordered eating, now I had to face another truth: I was addicted to exercise.” Thankfully I don’t feel like I am addicted to exercise, but I can understand what she is talking about and I really enjoyed this part of her journey. The other quote that I found hit very close to home was: “The thinness I’d achieved came with its own brand of indignity. It was fear of gaining back each pound, of proving myself a failure, that plagued me. I know that fear, I live that fear.
As she found a career for herself, I enjoyed the book more and more. I may not have know who Andie Mitchell was before I read this book, but I now feel a connection to her. I’m glad I picked this book and would suggest you give it a read too. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.
There are a few other quotes I found worthy of a mention:
“When you are big for twenty years, the only twenty you’ve ever know, you’ll kindly not frown upon two decades. You’ll know who you are was formed in there, and that is beautiful. Quite simply, beautiful.”
“ I will always know fat. And love who she was. And know that fat, in itself, is not a bad word. I’ll own it and respect those twenty years. They were hard, but they were sweet, too. I grew up in that body, in that time, in that big, beautiful mind. I will always know thin. And love who she is. And know that even when she feels heavier mentally, she’s freer now. She’s effervescent. Small, but tough.”
You can check up on Andie on her website: Can You Stay for Dinner?