From now on, when my friend Kristina recommends a book to me, I will immediately go and find it. First it was Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, and now this fantastic book by Liza Palmer. The back cover blurb doesn't do this book justice: "gives voice to women everywhere who wish for just once that they could forget about their weight."
The book does, indeed, center around weight on one level. Maggie and Olivia were best friends from elementary school who were drawn to one another initially because they were the fat girls. But a decade later, Olivia crosses into the world of skinny people when she gets gastric-bypass surgery. Olivia finds the "perfect" fiance, and Maggie struggles to find a place in Olivia's new life. That's all I'm going to say about that.
Maggie herself is a completely lovable character. While Palmer specifically details Maggie's struggles with the low self-esteem that can come from being overweight in a skinny world, she really transcends weight issues to the larger issues of insecurity and identity struggles. This week I found myself peering at the lives of some high school acquaintances via Facebook, seeing their jobs listed as Ivy League faculty and DC law firm partners, and feeling that momentary twinge of envy—of not measuring up. Palmer does a fantastic job of capturing, through Maggie and her weight issues, that sense of not-measuring-up that we all feel at times.
On still another level, I appreciated Palmer's insights into friendship. Who is a true friend? How long do you make excuses and carry on a friendship that is no longer joy-filled, but instead based on a shared history?
I loved this book. I'm waiting to hear Kristina's next recommendation.