In How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly In Love, we follow sixteen year old Emery Jackson’s journey from an overweight, outspoken, sarcastic, binge-eating girl to a healthier, mature, still outspoken and sarcastic young lady. It’s definitely an addicting read in that her family is pretty much a train wreck that you can’t help but stare at. In an effort to save the family house, which is in danger of foreclosure despite the fact that Mr. Jackson is a former NBA player and now healthy-living life coach, the Jacksons sign up for a “reality” TV show which will shower them with a million dollars… IF the star, Emery, can manage to lose fifty pounds in just fifty days.
There are some things about this book that I really enjoyed. One, Emery is a great character. She’s sassy and smart, but her one big flaw is not being able to control her weight or her food intake. She feels completely out of place in her family (which, with a perfectly gorgeous and thin sister named Angel, it would be hard not to). She deals with crap at school resulting from her appearance. She suffers from depression, though she wouldn’t admit it. Through it all, though, she’s not like a “woe is me, I give up on life” kind of character. She’s funny, and though things don’t seem to be going her way, she’s tough and she’ll get through it. I was surprised at the realness of her and the spot-on inner workings of a teenage girl mind given that the author is a guy, but good for him!
Another thing I enjoyed was the supporting characters, some of which I would have strangled if I could, but they were all well-written and, unfortunately, realistic. The premise behind the book was cool, too, and afforded the reader lots of behind the scenes looks at reality TV shows and how they manipulate reality. As the show went on, Emery’s well-being became less and less important until Emery stood up and made it important.
So, while there was a lot here that I liked, I can’t say that I really loved the ending. Without giving anything away, because it’s quite a surprise, it did make me proud of Emery for doing what was best for her. As a reader, though, it left too many loose ends. There were some big things that didn’t resolve enough for me. Maybe Baker plans on writing a sequel, but I don’t know. It probably resolves enough to satisfy most people, but I’m a needy reader.
I think Emery’s story will be especially valuable for teenage girls who struggle with body image. Her journey to healthy living is nothing if not inspirational!
How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly In Love is available this Tuesday! Find it here on Amazon, or at your favorite local bookseller.