Waisted, by Randy Susan Meyers

18 Feb
waisted randy susan meyers

THREE of 5 stars

I’m giving this 3 stars because I liked it. I did not *really* like it, but I didn’t hate it. The problem is I don’t know how to review this book which, at its best, is problematic. It gets away with the most if you label it Chick-Lit, yet it’s too self-help-y to be considered pure fluff. It tries to cover a variety of the many issues women face when it comes to their weight, their looks, and just plain everyday being a woman, but that might be the heart of the problem – it just tries to cover too much and it’s not meaty enough to do it.

We have seven women, three in the main group, but only two as narrators. The author takes great pains to make sure this is the most diverse group of seven women possible, both racially and in body type. Though it’s great to see this amazing, true-America character depiction, it feels like the author is trying really REALLY hard to do this, instead of it happening organically. But then four of the women are mostly excluded from the story, and the fifth woman is mostly ignored even though she’s a big part of the story.

The book tries to cover every type of mother/daughter relationship including race factors, weight factors and attention factors, and it is just too many while at the same time feeling like a relationship instruction manual. We cover the relationships these women have with their mothers AND with their daughters AND with their husbands, and every one of those relationships are trying to tackle a different problem.

The story starts out with the seven women joining a Biggest Loser type documentary show even though the women are barely in the obese category. It is noted that these women are not as big as Biggest Loser contestants, but it’s not explained WHY they are using women this size.

After leaving the house I really didn’t understand why there were no police involved, and/or lawyers. They talk about doing things their own way instead, but it’s not clear why they made this choice when I think lawyers would have jumped all over this. At the very least police would have been involved once the hospital was involved. Bringing in issues with the career of Alice’s husband is just Problem #20 too many for the plot to deal with.

So we have a book that wants to be a fun chick-lit story but also wants to be taken very seriously. The seriousness of the relationships and what the women are going through psychologically and emotionally don’t allow the reader to ignore the problematic issues on the fluff side. You can’t be chick-lit and self-help and women’s literature at the same time.

I wish the author had decided to cover the subjects she wanted to cover while using a more standard TV show format, but instead a lot of outlandish shenanigans are introduced and bring too many complications to the story. WAY too many.  After slogging through ALL the different issues, I mostly skimmed all the exposition used to close up the story. I wasn’t brought to care about five of the women, and I was done caring about the main two.

The three stars is because I was interested in many of the women’s stories, and a lot of thoughtfulness was put into most of them. I really wish they had taken these women and their stories and plopped them into a “normal” TV show so we could really dig into the issues without all the shenanigan distractions. I have a hard time recommending this as chick-lit because it’s too serious, but I cannot recommend it as a thoughtful story about being a woman because of the nonsense fluff. So I’m stuck in the middle.

A big thanks go to Atria Books and NetGalley for allowing me an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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