A thumbs down to a light and silly read, which ultimately is basically judging women based on how they appear.
Now, those of you who enjoy reading these reviews (and much to my neverending surprise and delight based on feedback and viewing numbers there are quite a few of you!) you may notice a preferred genre/theme generally in preference. I will admit to it, I will hold me ‘ands up – my favourite genres tend to be fantasy/history/travel with the odd Vampire thrown in (hey, I’m only human – pun not intended). If I were to philosophise, it’s probably because these are all fabulous breaks from day-to-day reality and wonderful to snuggle up with at the end of the day.
Saying that (and not mentioning my goal of reading 60 of the BBC’s top books – how many have you read?) I have been known occasionally to indulge in ‘chick-lit’, especially on holiday. There is something utterly delicious about sitting at the side of a pool, Margarita in one hand, silly fun book in the other. With this in mind I picked out Jemima J from the Kindle recommendations store (plus on an old recommendation from a friend).
“Sometimes in life, you have to make things happen. That you can change your life if you’re willing to let go of the old and actively look for the new. That even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Jemima J is a wanna-be journalist living in London, writing a ‘Tips and Tricks’ column for a small paper no-one has ever heard of. What really defines her life and confidence is that she’s roughly 7 stone overweight, and struggling to break the comfort eating cycle. She really fancies the hottest boy in her office, but can’t get up the confidence or courage to ever ask him out. The one day she discovers the internet, and over virtual messaging meets a hot (according to his photo) Californian called Brad which gives her the impetus to change her life, get rid of the spare tyre and travel to America. Everything doesn’t go quite as well as planned but I’m not giving away any secrets.
I’m not going to lie, I’m not a size zero supermodel, so I was looking forward to a fun twist on the usual light frothy ‘boy-meets-girl’ novel.
I really enjoyed the first half or so – it was funny, sassy and really true to form if you’re a larger girl. Some of the thoughts and actions of Jemima are incredibly apt and hilarious. It does feel strange as the author switches from 1st to 2nd to 3rd person narration throughout for no discernible reason.
But then it all loses steam (becoming normal Chick-Lit I guess) and that’s when I get really mad. Instead of using a clever plot hook where Jemima come out on top through being clever, the main character Jemima loses all the weight through over-exercising and not eating enough, and then becomes incredibly confident, falls in love and gets an amazing promotion. But it’s not because she’s smart, it’s because she lost the weight. The whole first half of the book is about how she’s a lovely, caring, kind, intelligent person but no, nothing amazing happens until she becomes rake thin. How in any way is this helping young girls??
Give me Vampires any day – at least they have kudos as they are smart, canny and above all else sparkle. Want a better pool read and a feisty heroine? Try Adorkable, The Night Circus: Erin Morgenstern, Glass Houses: Rachel Caine or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Have you read any books that made you mad?