Band Geek Love, Artichoke's Heart, Catcher in the Rye. In that order, meaning I'm still in the middle of Catcher in the Rye. (By the way, this is my second attempt at reading it in over a year.)
Which book is the winner and gets to be deemed "The Best Book I Read in August?"
Artichoke's Heart, by Suzanne Supplee.
Honestly, this was a great book. The first few paragraphs were hard to get into, despite how easy it was to follow. I think it would have to be because the main character is southern, and while she doesn't speak with a visible dialect, she has a few verbal mannerisms about her that prove she's not from the Northeast. There is also just a way about her, her family, and her surroundings that just give it away without being too much, which I have to applaud. People always say that in writing, if you're going to place someone somewhere like that, you have to be careful not to overdo it. Suzanne Supplee did not.
Now you might be wondering what this book is about? Artichokes? Hearts? Who? What? Artichoke is actually a cruel nickname for the main character - Rosemary Goode. She's a fat girl. It's Christmas, and she's hit her all time low -- or high rather, on the scale. (And no, this isn't some "average" girl complaining that she's "fat." This girl is. She weighs over 200 pounds and wears pants larger than me.) (And no, I'm not going to divulge my weight on this blog.) Anyway, she was given this nickname by the cruel girls at school -- The Bluebirds -- when she wore a green puffy coat to school one day, years earlier.
Rosemary has no friends except for Mr. Hershey, Mr. Reese's, and Mr. Snicker's. She is ridiculed for her weight by her peers, her mother, her thinks-she-knows-everything aunt, and even the old ladies at her her mother's hair salon. Every time she thinks about being thin, or exercising, or having no desire to pig out, she indulges in chocolate.
Then one day, everything changes. And with a few bumps and bruises along the way, Rosemary realizes a few things... that I would have said here... but I didn't want to give anything away.
Here's what I like about this book.
- The Southern-ness -- Like I said before, these things are just kind of sprinkled in, and aren't overwhelming. So it's much easier to understand than something like The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin. (If I never have to go near that book again, it'll be too soon.)
- The issues of being FAT -- Speaking from experience, I've struggled with weight problems for most of my life. Ups, downs, it's there. And there are never really any books that really deal with something like this in a realistic way. Now I can't say I've been friendless because of my weight, but I'm also from a different place. This book deals with weight like it should.
- The style -- it's light, it's funny, and it's easy to follow. You get to know Rosemary, and you feel for her. You feel like you're friends.
- The ending -- no spoilers here. I just have to say I liked it. And it was a happy ending. (Shocker for me, I know!)