Publication Date: 8/1/2016
Publisher: Switch Press
I didn’t like this book—when I first started reading. Why? It’s about a fat girl and the horrible treatment she’s experienced since about third grade when she became a target. Definitely not a fun theme.
Chelsea is happiest when she’s at home with her equally pudgy Dad watching and singing along to musicals and eating macadamia nut popcorn. It’s when she’s out in the world and feeling judged and being judged that everything takes on a different hue. She crumbles into herself, trying to disappear into the woodwork, but when you’re large, you can’t escape. Her feet, she feels, are her best feature. She paints her toes and wears fabulous shoes and dreams that one day she’ll open a shoe store, or maybe she could be a singer.
In her film class, which she adores because she can do one of her favorite things: watch movies, a girl, Melody, with ADHD befriends Chelsea and her world begins to change a little bit.
Now, I won’t lie to you. This is a rough book to get through. Struyk-Bonn is a teacher so I imagine that she has seen her fair share of unadmirable behavior and I’m willing to bet that some of it, maybe just the emotions, have found their way to the pages of this book.
While told from the first person, there is a certain amount of perception that is colored by Chelsea’s experience. When she is judged, she tends to slightly judge, but it’s a defense mechanism. Her mother is skinny so Chelsea tends to sometimes not like her mother because she feels her mother only wants her to change and can’t be happy for who she is, which is a person her Dad, on the other hand, thinks is fantastic.
There is some two-sided preaching here. The first argument, which Chelsea can’t identify with is: lose weight to be healthy and to make yourself feel better about yourself. The second is: be happy with who you are. Chelsea thinks it’s a cop-out to lose weight. You should like yourself for you and it’s other people who have issues.
Nice Girls Endure provides a few “feel” good, inspirational moments. Brandy, a large, feel-good-about-yourself girl, provides some of them with her outspoken calling out of people who judge her. Another is provided when Chelsea’s talent is acknowledged.
This is definitely a Young Adult read and that is not to take away anything from the writing or the message. To be frank, some older readers might find it hard to empathize with Chelsea if they’ve never been in her shoes. Younger readers will probably recognize behavior they see everyday.
I was given an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
From Amazon: Nice Girls Endure
rating: (4 out of 5 butterflies)