July 23, 2008

No More Barbies

It isn't easy being Maria's daughter. She's gorgeous and rail thin, and a real go-getter, that's what everyone says. Carmen ...isn't, and every chance her mother gets, she reminds her. How can Carmen stand her piggy self? Doesn't she want to succeed, meet boys, stand out?

When Carmen's mum leaves her Dad and moves them in with Gran, it's even worse -- Carmen is desperately lonely, pinched between her corpulent grandmother who equates food with love, and her mother, whose stinging criticism grows more caustic daily. Struggling to grow up fast and be more who her mother wants her to be, Carmen no longer knows herself after awhile, but her mother still wants more.

Perfection. It's what they both strive for. And if that means leaving a few meals behind with the flush of the toilet, well, then, so be it, right? After all, if Carmen finally looks like her mother wants her to, won't she be happier? And, if she's finally happier, won't she finally eat?

Julia Bell's MASSIVE is a hard one to read, and it explores the question of whether or not a person can inherit eating disorders. There is NO tidy endings, but a great scene with Barbies at the end gives the reader an understated hope for the future.

Buy this book from an independent bookstore near you!

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