Friday, April 15, 2011

Book review: Slim Chance

Author: Jackie Rose
Publisher: Red Dress Ink
Price: 606
Pages: 331

Reviewed by Eisha Sarkar
Posted on Times Wellness on Monday, April 11, 2011 

“Is her chance to have it all shrinking along with her waistline?” It's this question in the bold yellow typeface on the book’s back over that screams for your attention. Few novels revolve around the central theme of weight loss. And that’s why Canadian author Jackie Rose’s Slim Chance stand apart from the rest of the books that have been dubbed as ‘chick lit’.

In her debut novel, Rose talks of crash diets and stapled stomachs, peer pressure and job stresses and deterioriating relationships that are commonplace in urban society, never mind if you are in New York or London or Mumbai or Singapore. The protagonist is a certain Evelyn Mays aka Evie, who is totally unprepared when Bruce, her boyfriend of six years barges into a meeting at her workplace and romantically proposes to her in front of her colleagues. Evelyn says, “Yes” and then rushes to the washroom to throw up. In the weeks that follow, Evie tries to come to terms with the fact that she will be a married woman soon and starts shopping for the perfect wedding dress. At a special sale, she buys a size eight Vera Wang wedding dress even though she wears a size 14. She pledges to lose all that extra weight to fit into the dress that she hides at the back of her closet.

Evie signs up at a gym and spends a fortune on a personal trainer. Losing weight and looking good becomes such an obsession that she starts starving herself, sometimes eating just an olive at an official lunch party and takes to smoking to combat those hunger pangs. Egged on by her attractive trainer, she begins to spend more time at the gym and less time with Bruce. Every time she loses a few pounds, she goes on a shopping spree to purchase outfits that make her feel good. The more addicted she becomes to changing her appearance, the further her relationship with Bruce, her colleagues and friends deteriorates.

It's easy to identify with the characters. You almost feel sorry for the naive and image-conscious Evie and her decent and intelligent Bruce who is totally bewildered by his fiancĂ©e's mood swings. Rose cleverly takes on magazine articles that talk of diet and fashion tips, coercing people to spend more money on the ‘latest buys of the season’.  The only problem with the book is the volume. With such a simple storyline, the reading becomes a little tedious in parts.

The book is an eye-opener for those who tend to find their faults and in desperation to improve, end up becoming different people altogether. The message is clear: You are good just the way you are.

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