Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee
|Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee
|Reviewer: Sue Magee
|Summary: 'Fat girl loses weight' makes this book sound like teen chick lit and it is way better than that. It's a superb book about relationships and the unimportance of body image. Highly recommended.
|Date: May 2009
|Publisher: Puffin Books
Have you ever noticed that the young male football star who weighs in at 260lb is described as 'strapping', but the fifteen-year-old girl who hit the scales at 203lb one morning is simply 'fat'? Rosemary Goode has certainly noticed it, and she can hardly miss the hints when her mother buys her a treadmill for Christmas and her Aunt get her tickets to a Healing the Fat Girl Within conference. Rosie's noticed something else too – she's noticed the 260lb football star, by the name of Kyle Cox. He can hardly miss Rosie, but she's convinced that because of her weight he won't actually see her if you know what I mean.
You think this is chick lit for teens, don't you? It isn't. Do you think it's a vehicle to hit you over the head with messages about only the slim girls getting the boys and you'd better be careful about what you eat from a very early age? It's definitely not that either. It's a brutally honest look at a year in Rosie's life and about the changes that she decides to make for her own reasons.
You can understand why Rosie got to be so well-upholstered. Her mother was still at school when she gave birth to Rosie but since then she's worked hard and has her own thriving beauty business. It's not that she hasn't been around for Rosie; it's just that she's never really been there for her and in any discussion which involved her mother's sister Mary it was always Mary's side her mother took. If she was looking for comfort, then food would always deliver.
School wasn't a lot better. Rosie was a conscientious student and always got top grades, but she wasn't popular with the other students, particularly the Bluebirds who took great pleasure in taunting her because of her weight. It was another good reason to hit the chocolate, or the cheese curls, or, well, anything edible.
It wasn't the advent of Kyle Cox which made Rosie want to lose weight (I told you this wasn't chick lit) but a combination of circumstances some large (her mother was diagnosed with cancer), some small (she couldn't even get into sweat pants at one point) and the knowledge that this wasn't good for her. Her methods of losing weight are unorthodox and shown to be silly and she's not aiming to be one of those girls whom you worry about when they walk over grates. She just wants to be a reasonable, healthy weight for her five-foot-six-inch frame. The story's about not being unhealthily fat – or unhealthily thin. It's not a story about body image, but about how unimportant body image really is.
It's a story about relationships – mother and daughter, girl and boy and perhaps best of all, girl and her girlfriend. Kay-Kay doesn't fit in with the Bluebirds and some times they took a break from taunting Rosie to taunt Kay-Kay who made the mistake of being a little too independent for their tastes. She's beautiful, but her home life is a bit of a mess and there are the first hints of alcohol dependency. She does get Rosie taking exercise though and Rosie helps her to concentrate more on her school work.
The writing is superb – spare, funny and engaging. You'll laugh, you'll cry but most of all you'll root for Rosie who will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. I loved the book.
You can read more book reviews or buy Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee at Amazon.com.
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