Welcome to The Selective Collective. Together with our friends at The Book Addict’s Guide, Gone Pecan, The Grown Up YA and Teen Lit Rocks, we’ll be exploring a new release in its entirety, from review to author spotlight, to a roundtable chat, among other fun things.
This week we’re discussing 45 Pounds by K.A . Barson.
Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.
Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.
And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up! (Goodreads)
This week I have the honor of hosting our roundtable discussion. This is where the gals and I answer questions and share our thoughts on the issues raised by the author.
1. Ann’s mother constantly “encourages” her to lose weight by being her biggest cheerleader, by making constant–often unwelcome–suggestions, and by buying smaller clothes for her as incentive. She obviously means well, but it doesn’t always come across that way. How do you think her mother should have responded to Ann’s weight struggles?
As someone who has struggled, and continues to struggle with her weight, I can certainly relate to Ann. I also related to Ann’s feelings about her mother. I had a mother who was thinner than me for most of my teen and adult life. She constantly made comments about my own weight. Most of the time her comments were unwelcome and sometimes they were hurtful. They were rarely helpful. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my mother, but her comments about weight were annoying. I usually would tell her to leave me alone. I have a friend with a 23-year-old daughter who is a size 14 and she can’t stand it. My friend works out all the time and looks fantastic. I always tell her to leave her daughter alone. I think that’s how Ann’s mother should respond. When someone is overweight, they know they are. They don’t need someone else constantly pointing it out. The desire to lose weight has to come from within. No one can force it. So I think Ann’s mother could’ve just fixed healthy meals for the family, invited Ann to run with her, and just encouraged her whenever she seemed to be making the right steps toward weight loss. She had to step back and let Ann decide when and how to do it. — Diana, Teen Lit Rocks
I’m about to tell you a story I rarely ever tell: My junior year of high school I had a blind date for prom. I was super excited about it too because I had major trouble finding one. So I went and got my hair and makeup done. When I got home, my mom said “Oh, I have some bad news. Your date just called and cancelled. He got called into work.” Obviously I was devastated. My mom, using the only form of comfort she knows of, said later that evening “We’ll go on a diet starting tomorrow so next year you won’t have this problem finding a date.” While I’m sure she didn’t mean (at least I hope she didn’t mean) that you’ll only find love if you’re skinny, I’m not going to lie: that has stuck with me ever since. Therefore, I TOTALLY get how Ann feels about her mom. I think sometimes moms don’t know how to talk to their daughters about weight loss. Maybe methods that work for them don’t always come across as help but as criticism. I guess because I’ve always struggled with weight, I always get so defensive when someone brings them up. Maybe Ann’s mom should have responded more with an open door policy – you’re find how you are, but if you want to talk, I’m always there. –Candice, The Grown Up YA
2. When Ann is frustrated or upset, she sometimes finds momentary comfort in food. What comforts do you seek when you’ve had a rough day? (ie. chocolate, bubble bath, girl time, etc).
At the end of every day, Shane and I call each other after work and we talk about the whole day, what we’re doing that night, anything and everything. I don’t like talking on the phone, but that’s kind of our way to unwind and get back to “our” time. We also like to have a nice beer with dinner (Hey, that doesn’t hurt, right?) It always helps me to vent to someone when I’m upset! Sometimes my co-worker, sometimes Shane, sometimes my best friend — But I almost always need to talk it out to let those feelings go! (And chocolate helps too!)- Brittany, The Book Addict’s Guide
When I’m upset or discouraged, I find a little time to myself with a good book helps (shocking, I know). In the winter, I like to take long, hot bubble baths, which helps me to relax. I also find tickling my kids works wonders to help me to climb out of my fog and feel better about myself.– Daphne, Gone Pecan
3. Courtney, Ann’s frenemy and co-worker, says and does several bad things, many directed at Ann. Why do you think it takes Ann so long to stand up for herself?
I think Ann allows Courtney to get away with the things she says and does because Ann feels like she deserves them. It’s somehow perfectly okay in society to discriminate against overweight people in a way that it’s no longer okay to discriminate against other people. Ann feels like she’s not worthy of a lot of things and that people would automatically think like Courtney does just because she has low self-worth and because Courtney’s popular. – Daphne, Gone Pecan
It’s hard to stand up for yourself!!! I like to think I’ve gotten a lot more confident over the years, but even still I find myself letting a lot of things go because it’s just not worth it. I hate confrontation because I don’t like hurting people’s feelings and I HATE yelling. I think there was a certain point where Ann should have stood up for herself because it was doing too much harm to her personal situation (I won’t say when because I don’t want to give any spoilers away!) and I think that’s the point where I would have jumped in. I think it just took a little more confidence for Ann and finally finding that breaking point where she had had enough of people walking all over her and realizing that’s she’s worth so much more than the way people were treating her — ESPECIALLY Courtney. –Brittany, The Book Addict’s Guide
4. Ann’s mom tries to keep everything in her own life perfect: her weight, the house, her parenting, her physical appearance. Even though striving for health or an orderly life may not be inherently bad, this has a negative impact on Ann and her siblings. Why do you think this is so (or do you disagree)?
I think Ann’s mom feels the need to be perfect because it’s something that she can control, but when she attempts to push this perfection on her children, they rebel because 1) it’s unrealistic, 2) they are children who don’t understand the concept of perfection and 3) her older children resent that they need to be “perfect” in order to be loved by their mother. Of course, it’s not all Ann’s mother’s fault, she too is a victim of the perception of perfection. Her mother-in-law is a very critical and angry person and Ann’s mother has also been burned by her ex-husband because of her so-called imperfections. She doesn’t want to have to go through that again. I did like Ann’s mom, though, because I really felt like she loved her children, but she didn’t know how to handle them in a way that wasn’t criticizing. I especially loved the storyline about Ann’s baby sister, Libby, and how her perception of food was colored by their mother and Ann. – Daphne, Gone Pecan
5. Originally Ann wanted lose 45 pounds. Were you satisfied with where she ended up, both physically and emotionally? Why?
I was totally satisfied where Ann ended up! She had a weight goal and succeed or fail with that specific number, she gained so much confidence and discovered a lot about herself. I think almost more important than losing the weight was Ann gaining confidence and she went through a big change in this book! I was really proud of her! It’s not easy to do. –Brittany, The Book Addict’s Guide
6. This book brings to mind the model-perfect (photoshopped) images thrust upon women and young girls today and the negative repercussions that often follow when girls are barraged with one ideal they must live up to. What steps have you taken in your own life, either personally or as a parent, to balance a healthy lifestyle (weight, diet, etc) with a healthy body image?
This is a big issue to me. I’ve never personally struggled with my weight in any significant way, but like anyone else I often fall prey to the images in magazines and the latest beauty trend guaranteed to make me look like those ideal, annoying models. I want so much for my daughters to avoid these pitfalls. Pipe dream? Probably. With my oldest, I’ve shown her (and her entire Girl Scout troop) that awesome video Dove did highlighting the process of making an ad, letting her/them see the computer work done so that ultimately the model looks like a completely different person. In the end, the model can’t even live up to the perfect image created! And I don’t keep a scale in the house. I think it encourages us to obsess over every pound, and I want to avoid that. More than anything, I want the girls to understand how to eat healthy and exercise and take care of themselves, but never to maintain a certain look or number. I try to stress feeling good and being happy. I try to avoid the word “fat” too (though my husband constantly calls himself fat!). A couple of months ago I decided to become part vegetarian (I do a 70/30 plan, the idea being to eat more greens and depend on those rather than looking for any meat–red, chicken or fish–as the main event). It’s astounding to me how many people hear I’m doing this and want to know if I’m trying to lose weight (which makes me wonder if they think I should. Old habits die hard). I cringe when my kids hear this and try to explain that it’s about giving my body good fuel and less chemicals and nothing more. Thus far, we do not diet in this house. I hope they see that beauty comes first from feeling happy and good in every way.–Tammy, YA Crush
Please be sure to visit my blogging partners in The Selective Collective and check out the great things they have in store:
The Book Addict’s Guide-Interview & Giveaway
Gone Pecan-Page to Screen
The Grown Up YA- Dieting Through The Ages
Teen Lit Rocks- Review
Special thanks to Viking Juvenile for sending us review copies of 45 Pounds !