Skinny by Diana Spechler is a novel that explores the relationship between food and emotions. What are the reasons we may overindulge – is it pain, avoidance, or something else? Does the desire to be skinny overrule anything else and does it truly make us happy when we finally get there? Skinny is really a novel about a woman who loses herself in food and self indulgence and ultimately finds her way back to herself with a few lessons learned along the way.
Gray Lachmann is twenty-six years old and eating herself into oblivion. Her father passed away a year ago and Gray blames herself for his death. Since his death she has found her whole life slipping away. She has lost interest in her boyfriend Mikey, her work, and mostly herself. The only place she can manage to lose herself for awhile is in food and she freely packs it in. For a while she ignores everything but when she finally comes up for air to take care of her father’s will she is left with a surprise – she may have a sister out there.
Gray’s next move is to find out as much as she can about Eden who she feels is quite possibly her sister from an affair her father had. She learns that Eden plans to attend a fat camp so Gray finds out as much as she can about the camp and applies to work as a counselor. Now, while Gray has put on some pounds, she’s still not considered obese but she tells the camp about her father being obese and dying and how she wants to help these kids. She’s hired. She packs up the car and heads to the camp for what she hopes, in time, will be a reunion with the sister she’s never known existed.
Life at camp doesn’t go quite as Gray had imagined and she can’t seem to find a good time to tell Eden that they are related as Eden is quite moody and keeps to herself. In the meantime though she discovers that the camp director is more than a little weird, the camp really isn’t run properly, she begins to blatantly flirt with the personal trainer, and she begins to find herself caring about these girls in her charge at the camp. Mostly though she finds that she isn’t eating crazily anymore and she’s exercising a lot more which, in turn, is taking her weight off. Things start to go awry though and Gray sees her life unraveling once again.
Skinny is an interesting novel in that I think so many women put so much into their appearance and being ‘thin’. I think it’s especially interesting when you look at the effect of models and magazines on our teens. Everywhere they look there is a skinny and beautiful model looking back at them. If that’s not what they look like, well then they perceive it as there is something wrong with them leading them to want to change themselves. Now there is nothing wrong with losing weight and getting healthy – the worry comes in if it leads to binging and purging, etc.
I like how this novel looked at the emotions we connect to food. How we use food to soothe grief or longing. I connected to this story in that I was always an emotional eater and when I was upset I would eat, thereby gaining some extra weight. When Buddy passed I went in the complete opposite direction losing almost thirty-five pounds now. Do I feel better – sure I do. Am I happier – in some ways yes, in some no. Losing weight and being skinny doesn’t necessarily pull your life together and make it perfect and I think that’s what the novel Skinny tries to show us.
I did enjoy Skinny by Diana Spechler and while the first half of the story moved a bit slowly for me, the last half took off more and really held my interest. While I don’t think I connected to the characters really, I did connect to the story itself. I look forward to reading more of Diana Spechler’s work.
I read Skinny by Diana Spechler for her book tour with TLC Book Tours. You can visit the other tour stops to see what everyone thought of the novel. Diana can be found on her website, Facebook, and Twitter as well! Your own copy of Skinny by Diana Spechler can be found here in the US and here in Canada.
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My copy of Skinny by Diana Spechler was received for review from TLC Book Tours and the Publisher.
Sandy Nawrot says
I still have to write my review for this one, but I enjoyed it too. I must say that I didn't like Gray so much. I thought she was very selfish, and I wonder if she was every happy in her life. There were many many plot threads as well. But it introduces some discussion-worthy topics as well. Nice job on this review! (35 pounds? That is incredible!)
I think a lot of readers will connect to this book. " Losing weight and being skinny doesn't necessarily pull your life together and make it perfect and I think that's what the novel Skinny tries to show us." I think that's such an important point! Nice review, Dar.
This sounds like such a relevant book. I think it's time that we, as a society, stop putting so much emphasis on appearance, especially for women.
We were just talking about this book last night at book club, and I do have it coming up for review very soon. It sounds like there is a lot to love here, and I can't wait to get to it. Great review, Dar, I am glad that you enjoyed it!
This wasn't a good read for me, but I am glad to see that you enjoyed it. I firmly believe that there is an audience for most every book 🙂
I agree the second half is better. One thing I couldn't quite believe though is that all that binge-ing after her father died only resulted in a 15 pound weight gain!
It is interesting how stress affects us. I usually am one that loses weight, but going through the emptying of the nest, I gained. I ditto Mary and Kathy's comments.
This sounds FANTASTIC.
Jenny Girl says
If women could just learn to accept themselves and stop worrying about society, we would be set! Although emotional eating d/o are another thing they all merge at a certain point. Great review Darlene 🙂
Maybe I should have given this more time. I had a NetGalley of it and gave it up because it was too slow and I just didn't care about her.
I know what you mean about weight. I've been in Weight Watchers since January and have lost over 25 lbs. I have to lose another 25 to be at the top of the goal range for my weight, and 20 more to be the weight I was when I got married–and I thought I was fat then (10 lbs over the WW minimum for someone my height)
sounds like a good book, and a good book for booclubs to read and discuss
I read one of her earlier works and honestly hated it. Not sure if I'm willing to give her another shot, especially after reading that you didn't really connect with a character. Great review Dar!
Alice Teh says
I think this will be a book of interest to me. I love being fit and slimness is an end product that comes with a self-love (eat properly, exercise, etc.). I do eat quite a lot when I'm stressed but I think I'm also lucky in the sense that my body is a "burning machine" thanks to the work I put in for myself (again, working out, etc). Thanks for the great review, Dar!
Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks says
Yes, SKINNY is a *very* discussable book, isn't it?!? It may be uncomfortable for those people who most connect with Gray (or who deny connecting with Gray). Her story of binge eating and binge exercise really drew me in, as did her struggle with internal (vs. external, from those around her) acceptance.
I worry for my two daughters that they may get caught up in this cycle one day … it's so easy to do!
It sounds interesting. I think food and emotions can go hand in hand. Glad to hear even if you didnt connect with the characters, the story drew you in. Nice review Dar.
This does sound interesting as I know I am an emotional eater. I do think that society puts too much pressure on us to be "skinny" and I do think it is very wrong. You make some very wise points Dar. Great review and great points!
It's interesting to me that even though you couldn't connect with the characters, you DID connect with the story – I'm not sure if I've ever had that experience before. I'm glad that you also pointed out that being skinny doesn't always equal being happy. I think many people overlook that fact.
Thanks for being a part of the tour!
I'm really looking forward to reading this one especially after hearing your thoughts on it! I've wanted to read this author's other book, Who By Fire, for some time now but have never taken the time to read it. Now I have two books by her that I want to read!
Sounds like a good book. I liked Spechler's Who By Fire, so I hope to read this one at some point.