May 31, 2014

How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love - Ken Baker

How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love - Ken Baker
How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks, Running Press!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

"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? (from Goodreads)

How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love (henceforth to be called How I Got Skinny…) sounds like the title of a celebrity memoir. It is, in fact, sort of such a thing as it recounts the story of one Emery Jackson, who winds up signing on to star in a reality show – “50 Pounds to Freedom” – where the goal is to lose 50 pounds in 50 days in order to win the prize money. Even though parts of the novel are utterly ridiculous, and some characters leave much to be desired, it was still pretty entertaining in the way that reality shows can be.

How I Got Skinny… is irreverent, and funny, and obviously over the top! But what else would you expect from a book about reality TV? It’s the second reality TV show book I’ve encountered this year (here’s the first!), but it read differently because Emery actually consents to be on the show. In a way, she’s still muscled into it (since it’s really the lesser of two evils), but the important part is that she’s required to say yes.

And once she signs off, Emery’s life completely changes. She’s given a team to help her with the weight loss – a nutritionist, a therapist, a personal trainer. What she endures for the sake of her weight loss (and the show, obviously) is very extreme, and I felt very uncomfortable and put off at times. Obviously, the stakes are high and time is short, but Emery goes through a lot. Almost too much, if I’m being honest.

Even though I was a little traumatized, I just had to keep reading – and it was all because of Emery. She’s just hilarious! She’s sassy, smart and very much unafraid to say what she’s thinking and feeling. Yes, the girl has issues (and not just with her weight), but who in the world doesn’t? I really enjoyed reading from her POV, as it kind of made the entire experience (which could’ve been sad and horrible) into something sort of funny (even though parts were still sad and pretty terrible).

While How I Got Skinny… might not necessarily have a universal appeal, it will still work for certain readers. After all, Emery carries this novel along very well with her sassy, fun self, and sometimes, that can be enough. While I do wish there had been slightly more character and story development, it was still a diverting read.


  1. I like books that use reality TV as a theme. :-)

    I will say -- I am a bit nervous about this book, because potential fat shaming is not at all cool. Is there a love your body the way it is message that underlies? If so, I think I could be interested.


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