Today I like: Bagel sandwiches
Not so much: Letting the cat out at 3am
I first heard of Diana Spechler’s novel, SKINNY, on Nina Badzin’s blog. As someone who struggles with the physical insecurities that plague most women, I was immediately interested. Send the characters to a weight loss camp, a fascinating phenomenon in itself, and I knew I had to read this book!
After her father’s death, twenty-six-year-old Gray Lachmann goes on a year-long eating binge. Desperate to stop overeating, she takes a job at a southern weight loss camp. Her mission: forge a relationship with the half-sister she never knew, unravel her father’s lies, and of course, get skinny herself. All the while, her infatuation with the camp’s one attractive man forces her to reexamine her relationship with her long-term boyfriend back in New York City. In the end, Gray must figure out how to manage not only her body, but her life.
SKINNY is not just about losing weight or feeling physically attractive. Don’t get me wrong, Diana Spechler tackles the painful binge cycles of the overeater with brutal honesty. Anyone who has ever eaten a carton of ice cream or a whole bag of chips will identify with Spechler’s perfectly phrased sensory descriptions: tastes, smells, the feeling thousands of grams of fat settling into your stomach. What I most loved about this book is how Diana draws comparisons with overeating and a general lack in one’s life. What can I use to fill this void? Food? Sex? Love? Gray seeks out all of the above. She overeats until she replaces that obsession with sex, and then she warps sex into love. All in an effort to feel “full,” when her problems are really about so much more than any of her so-called solutions.
I applaud Diana for her candid and spot-on portrayal of neediness and intimacy. Most people have been in Gray’s shoes at some point: trying to force a relationship to be more that it is. I’d be willing to bet many women (and men for that matter!) will read some of these scenes and cringe. “Don’t do it, Gray! I’ve been there!”
So, in general I just can’t say enough great things about SKINNY. It’s a wonderful book club read! The characters are unique and well-developed, the plot clips along with just the right amount of tension. Diana is a talented, insightful writer! I can’t wait to read her first novel, WHO BY FIRE.
SKINNY was published by HarperPerennial in 2011. Diana has written for the NY Times, GQ, and Details, among others. She lives in New York City. Follow Diana on Twitter at @dianaspechler, or check out her websites: www.dianaspechler.com and www.bodyconfessions.com to learn more about her!