I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.
I haven’t laughed quite so hard in a long time, and it is all due to How I Got Skinny, Famous, & Fell Madly in Love. I took the kids swimming (it really is summer now!) and this was my first official pool-side read. While it isn’t all about summer, it is about California, so the sunshine definitely put me right there with Emery and her family. I highlighted so many one liners, jabs, and just hilarious comments that no one but Emery got. It was like watching a comedian in a room full of penguins. She’s hilarious, but the penguins just aren’t gonna get it. And that is half-sad, but the other half of it adds to the hilarity.
I also have a confession to make — at times I have been guilty of watching reality television shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Trust me, I’m surprised as you are. To be fair, I also love shows like Big Brother and Biggest Loser, but I’m vocal about those obsessions. It started with my husband watching the family America loves to hate on, and now if nothing else is on, I don’t mind peeking into their lives. I’m more like Emery in my thoughts on shows like this, but then again, it is a fun escape from time to time. Ironically Emery’s show was pitched as a mixture of the very three reality tv shows I like — so I found myself laughing that I picked up a book that knew me so well. I also know who Ken Baker is from E! and mostly the Chelsea Lately show. However, I didn’t make the connection between who he was and being the author of this book until after I signed up for this tour. And when I DID find out, I knew that his experiences were going to make this a great book.
And I wasn’t wrong. This is a great book — full of wit, irony, hilariousness, and a dash of social commentary. It’s a smart book and will make you think. Ken Baker understands “Hollywood” and everything that goes into it, but he’s also able to see it from the outside looking in. His journalism skills were an invaluable tool in creating this world that we can understand and appreciate for its connection to reality, but also know that we aren’t being immersed in cliques. It’s the perfect balance.
Emery doesn’t want to do the show — I love that about her. Sure, she hates the fat-shaming she gets from people, but she knows she is fat and she is afraid to talk about it. She isn’t afraid to be who she is. Sure, she’s not always happy about it, but as she said, she’d be skinny in West Virginia (ok so, I’ve never been there, but the idea is she’d be normal anywhere but LaLa land. Which is true.) I love that even though her family treats her like a science experiment, she does the show to help them. I also liked the fact that the show (aka Fifty Pounds to Freedom) is about her losing 50 lbs, which would make her 150. It’s a healthy weight at 5’6 unlike her sisters 119.2 at 5’9. I think having Emery goal to be healthy instead of like an underwear model helped make Emery a good role model.
I loved that there was a critical eye on the entertainment world. Things like “Celebrities tweeting for themselves is so 2010″ and the other intricate details about how an “unscripted” television show is actually made were interesting. I mean, we know these things are happening, but knowing it and seeing it play out are two entirely different things.“I might be happier being a Not Fat Human. I don’t even need to be skinny. I just don’t want to be fat anymore. I am over it.”
I loved Emery — I loved her when she was sarcastic, funny, even when she was being judgmental. I loved her, because she was just so real and raw. Even when she was a bit off-character from what I came to know, I felt it was genuine, because she was a teenager dealing with a lot of stress. I don’t think I would have reacted any differently to a family like hers. And as someone who is *enter the F word here*, I know what it is like to live like Emery. And I live in Texas, not ground central of the beautiful people.
It’s funny, when I read the title to this book, I didn’t expect Emery to already have a boyfriend. However, it was an interesting twist and I think it was the right move for the book. While the title says “Madly in love” the book wasn’t focused on romance. And I was REALLY okay with that (guys, I know I say this a lot – but it is true), because this wasn’t about that. It was about a girl coming to terms with who she is as a person and becoming a stronger person.
I found myself reading this book so quickly — I didn’t want to put it down. I expected something different from this book and my expectations were exceeded. I am definitely going to be reading more Ken Baker books from here on out!
For this review & more, visit Such a Novel Idea