My Skinny journey

Mar 28, 2013
Books take you on a journey. The plot, the characters, the setting…all meant to take you away. But sometimes a book resonates so much that the actual journey begins when you finish it and go back to your real life. That was the case when I read Skinny, a young adult novel we released last year. Donna Cooner has written the story of Ever but in many ways, the main character might as well have been Michael. If you haven’t read it yet, what you need to know is that Ever is struggling with her weight. And it’s a struggle that’s personal to me, and I wanted to share with you why this book resonated so deeply. Like Ever, I know the worry that, when walking down a narrow corridor, I’ll knock something over or into someone. I know the feeling of embarrassment that comes when eating with others, feeling that they are watching me, and the momentary relief when that embarrassment is drowned in a bag of candy in private. I also know the shame that follows that candy binge. The thing I know the most, though, is the judgment, both internal and external. I am my harshest critic and inside my head, I have my own ‘Skinny’ voice, just like Ever. I imagine the very worst thoughts in those around me and with that, only continue my bad habits. The harshest voice I’ve met has always been my own and that defense has been my own undoing. Reading Skinny made me realize, though, that not only was I not alone in this battle but that, like Ever, my biggest battle was with myself. Through Ever’s eyes, I was able to see the damage I was doing to my own self esteem. And here is where the beauty of books comes into play, and the surprise readers can find when they least expect it. See,I am not sure I would have read this book had I not seen Donna Cooner present it at an event. That presentation was nearly a year ago and as many of you know, I’ve been lucky enough to have a second child since then. The confluence of those events helped me make a very serious decision about my health. I’ve been seeing a team of doctors and dieticians for several months and pending approvals, I will be undergoing a similar procedure to the one Ever had in Skinny, with a goal of achieving a healthier weight for myself and my family. In our Reading Bill of Rights, we speak of a ‘textual lineage’ that simply means you are shaped by the books you read. A recent post from a fellow bookseller – Allison Hill at Vroman’s – talked about people looking for a book that will change their lives. I’ve found one, quite literally, in Skinny. And it makes me realize just how much hope, trust and understanding can be hidden in those pages. For the short term, you may be hearing less from me on OOM…but for the long term, I hope you’ll be SEEING less of me.