Friday, May 24, 2019

Review: Waisted

Summary: In this provocative, wildly entertaining, and compelling novel, seven women enrolled in an extreme weight loss documentary discover self-love and sisterhood as they enact a daring revenge against the exploitative filmmakers.

Alice and Daphne, both successful and accomplished working mothers, harbor the same secret: obsession with their weight overshadows concerns about their children, husbands, work—and everything else of importance in their lives. Scales terrify them.

Daphne, plump in a family of model-thin women, learned only slimness earns admiration at her mother’s knee. Alice, break-up skinny when she met her husband, risks losing her marriage if she keeps gaining weight.

The two women meet at Waisted. Located in a remote Vermont mansion, the program promises fast, dramatic weight loss, and Alice, Daphne, and five other women are desperate enough to leave behind their families for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The catch? They must agree to always be on camera; afterward, the world will see Waisted: The Documentary.

The women soon discover that the filmmakers have trapped them in a cruel experiment. With each pound lost, they edge deeper into obsession and instability...until they decide to take matters into their own hands. -- Atria

I had extremely high hopes for the new novel WAISTED by Randy Susan Meyers. I have read all of Ms. Meyer's books, and I think she's an amazing author. Plus, this novel's description totally appealed to me. I have to admit that I enjoyed this novel (more on that later!), but I'm not sure it lived up to my expectations.

WAISTED tells the story of two overweight women, Alice and Daphne. Even though both women are successful working moms, their unhappiness over their appearances seem to take center stage. Alice was extremely thin when she married her husband is concerned that her marriage can't survive her weight gain, and Daphne has always been anxious about not living up to her mother's expectations of thin. Trust me when I tell you that weight is an all-consuming concern for both of them!

The two women meet at Waisted, an in-patient program in rural Vermont where they hope to drastically lose weight... and improve their lives. They also have agreed to have the entire weight loss journey filmed for a documentary. As much as this seems to make sense for both women, they quickly learn that Waisted is much, much more intense than they even thought -- maybe even bordering on abusive. These two strong women (with a little help from some others!) decide it's high time to save themselves and take charge of what's happening to them!

As I mentioned earlier, I did like WAISTED quite a bit but I didn't love it. There were just a few scenes in an otherwise strong story that didn't set right with me. That's all I'm going to say on the matter because I don't want to focus on that... or provide spoilers! Rather, I would like to focus on the powerful messages in this novel that will resonate with all sorts of women in today's society!

I definitely appreciated what the author set out to do with WAISTED -- it really does an excellent job of exploring women's issues with their bodies and how these issues spill over into the rest of their lives. Both Alice and Daphne were incredible women, truly successful in so many aspects of their lives; however, they couldn't really love or accept themselves the way they were. It was so sad because they let their weight define them, and in the process, lived their lives with so much guilt and embarrassment. It truly broke my heart just how desperate they were.

However, I have to be honest and say that I could totally relate to so many of their thoughts and feelings. And actually, I think that's the beauty of this novel. Women will get this book! In today's society (and probably since the beginning of time), women are constantly judging themselves. And most of the time, it's harsher than how others see us. So many times our moods and behaviors are based on our weaknesses (or perceived weaknesses) rather than our strengths.

What I did enjoy about this story is that Alice and Daphne realized that they didn't deserve to be treated poorly just because they were heavy. (And let me tell you this was quite the journey!) When they decided to pull together all of their smarts and overcome the adversity that was WAISTED, they accomplished great things. And while they weren't miraculously cured of all their issues by the end of the novel, I do think they gain a lot of perspective. I guess it goes to say that we are all a work in progress!

I think I've touched upon a lot of great things about WAISTED, so it's no surprise that I am going to recommend this book for book clubs. There is truly so much to discuss, and there's a reading group guide to help stimulate conversation. Some of the themes you might want to explore include self-confidence, body issues, identity, relationships, confidence, guilt, parenting styles, and revenge. It also would be interesting to discuss how these characters move forward with their lives after the last page of the book!

I think WAISTED touches upon some incredibly relevant issues for women in today's society, and I guarantee that this novel will make you think and feel!

Thanks to the publisher and Get Red PR for providing a review copy of this novel.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I've read some mixed things about this book and, after reading your review, I can see why. I bet this would be good for a book club to discuss.