"After I killed my father, he taught me that honesty is optional. But, of course, I'd always known that. This was why I loathed being naked -- my choices were stripped away."
That first line of Skinny by Diana Spechler grabbed me. I took that line literally. Look at that cover, do you think anything sinister is going on? There isn't, but I was intrigued as to why someone thought they killed their father.
Twenty-six year old Gray Lachmann has struggled with weight issues all her life. Her father is overweight, but remained active in his way. He actively expressed his displeasure with her boyfriend Mikey -- a non-Jewish comedian. A comedian is just not good enough for his daughter. This tension drives a wedge between Gray and her father. When he dies of heart attack, Gray is consumed with guilt. Despite him not being healthy to begin with, Gray feels that breaking off contact if the root cause for his heart attack. Her desire for food only increases. His death steals Gray's self-control. Gray has a lingering desire to be skinny. But does being skinny equal happiness? Despite having a steady boyfriend and a career, Gray seems to be missing something in her life -- even before her father's death. She longs to liked and accepted. There is a hole in her life. What can fill it?
Going through her father's papers, Gray finds out she has a half-sister, Eden. If they can form a relationship, Gray can get rid of the guilt and perhaps feel more fulfilled. Eden is away at a fat camp. Instead of introducing herself, Gray hatches a "great" plan. Gray becomes a camp counselor, thinking she can work herself into Eden's good graces. Why not just get the suspense over with? Perhaps there is something missing in Eden's life too. Eden wants to be a chef, but her mother thinks she could lose a few pounds. Rather than focusing on her plan, Gray becomes distracted by an affair with Bennett, a fellow counselor.
As a main character, Gray isn't always likable. One moment you can sympathize with her guilt surrounding her father's death. But at times, I found her to be a little whiny. She loves Mikey, but cheats on him anyway. She worries whether Bennett likes her or not. She feels fat before coming to the camp, but suddenly Gray is not one of them when she sees how severely overweight everyone else is. Perhaps this one is frustrating for me because it forced me to look at myself. Sometimes I have those same feelings about weight. I'm in between on the book as whole, but it is worth a read.
Rating: Give it a try
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Harper Perennial) as part of a tour with TLC Book Tours. For more information on author Diana Spechler, visit: http://www.dianaspechler.com/