WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK ON AN EMPTY STOMACH!
I have to say that I have been surprised at how much I enjoyed Big Bones by Laura Dockrill. There were a few parts spotted throughout which nearly made me write it off as a DNF, but in the end I was very impressed. Big Bones by Laura Dockrill is out RIGHT NOW published by Hot Key Books! Go grab it!
Bluebells (BB) is overweight and she knows it. She loves food, loves her body, can seriously cook and knows her own mind. Side note: we should all be more like her! When she is told (yet again) by the nurse that she is verging on obesity, she is asked to keep a food diary. At the same time, she wishes to finish school (at 16) and start an apprenticeship. Her mum agrees so long as she keeps the diary, joins the gym and finds an apprenticeship on her own.
Throughout BB’s summer of finding herself and learning about looking after her body, there are highs and lows. This book is very humorous and at times, I enjoyed the sense of humour, while at others I felt it went a bit too far for my liking. Aside from that, however I really enjoyed it. BB’s descriptions of food make you very hungry so don’t read this on an empty stomach.
What I liked
I love this book because it’s such a great coming-of-age narrative. While it’s only set over the summer when BB is leaving high school, she learns a lot about herself, what she wants and what her family mean to her. She really goes through a period of denying that she needs to lose weight, to realising that by losing weight, she will be respecting her body and making it stronger. In the first half, there is a natural 16-year-old sense of entitlement, which makes her hard to stomach for someone who’s out of that stage now, but by the end of it, you will wish she was your best friend.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the food. If you’re not a big foodie, this isn’t the book for you, because BB’s love for food is extremely apparent and she knows how to make you crave food you’d never even dream of trying. If you don’t like very visual descriptions, including words like ‘oozing’, ‘dripping’ and ‘melting’, steer clear of this book. These descriptions also taught me quite a bit about food; she describes how to cook various meals to perfection, how to make simple snacks, and a lot of them are at least mid-way healthy. She just eats a lot of them and doesn’t exercise.
My favourite characters in this book were BB, her dad, Max and Dove. BB’s dad is a brilliant character because he encompasses the awkward role a father plays in a teenage girl’s development. BB’s anecdotes about her childhood with her dad made my heart ache; Dockrill can really make you feel a lot of raw emotion. Max is great because he’s the only one who doesn’t seem to care about BB’s weight. He loves food as well, and understands BB more than most people, it would seem. Dove is brilliantly written as a feisty, energetic kid who’s often wiser than her years. Her unwavering positivity is brilliant and I saw a lot of myself in her, especially during/after her injury.
What I didn’t like
Now, I am not a fat-shamer, but I do believe that people should take care of their bodies, so BB’s entitlement to eat whatever she wants and not being bothered about how it was affecting her body annoyed me greatly at the start of the book. This is part of the book that you just have to stick with SPOILER: She matures! Aside from this, there were some parts which were supposed to be ‘funny’ which made me quite disgusted. I can handle BB describing her fat rolls and sweat everywhere, but the ‘Shepherds Pie’ chapter was a bit unnecessary, I thought.
Aside from those small things, I didn’t dislike much else. I thought it was an accurate representation of what life must be like for an overweight female who loves food. The entire book showcases a passion for eating and enjoying every bite. BB proves that people can just love food and lack willpower. She made me feel okay about not being a gym-obsessed woman with a six pack on a paleo diet.
Overall, this is an excellent read. It’s brilliant for parents of overweight children – in fact, it’s great for parents, full stop, as it enters into the mind of a teenager and exposes their innermost thoughts about the thing they’re passionate about. If you can handle BB, then you can handle your own children just fine. It’s also great for all young adults, yet also for people of all ages who just love food. The body positivity messages which stem from this book are simple: love your body, treat it well and feed it well.
I received an advance copy of Big Bones from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.