Friday, October 31, 2008

Review: Artichoke's Heart

Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee
4 stars

Reasons for reading: sounded good when I ordered it for the library; love the cover; Young Adult Challenge

Description: Rosemary Goode is smart and funny and loyal and the best eyebrow waxer in Spring Hill, Tennessee. But only one thing seems to matter to anyone, including Rosemary: her weight. And when your mom runs the most successful (and gossipy) beauty shop in town, it can be hard to keep a low profile. Rosemary resolves to lose the weight, but her journey turns out to be about everything but the scale.

First line: "Mother spent $700 on a treadmill 'from Santa' that I will never use."

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book - it had sadness, humour, romance, and a Southern twang.

Above all, it rang so true, especially the beginning, with Rosemary really struggling with her weight and self-esteem. I've felt all the same things - self-disgust, frustration, anger at yourself, anger at the people trying to "help" you with suggestions like "You should exercise." and "You should stop eating so much." I was insulted about it at school (though not quite as badly as Rosemary) and I still get the odd crack from so-called adults today. While Rosie does start to conquer her problem, she takes some missteps along the way, including making herself sick with tainted mayonnaise on purpose.

The relationships in the book are well done; they're not one-dimensional. Rosie's single mother insists everything's fine, even when she's diagnosed with cancer and Rosie can't find a way to talk to her. Rosie's Aunt Mary is one of the biggest weight bullies around and her mother always seems to side with her sister over Rosie. Rosie's budding romance with sweet, sincere jock boy Kyle always seems on the verge of being sabotaged by either Rosie's self-esteem or the bitchy Bluebirds clique who have been calling her Fat Artichoke since middle school. And Rosie's new friendship with Kay-Kay, a gorgeous, athletic girl who is as much of a target for bullying as Rosie herself.

I definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more by Suzanne Supplee.


Anonymous said...

Ohh I just picked this one up from the library last week. I seem to have a lot of YA body image books out at the moment. I'm glad you liked it and recommended it. Moving it up the book pile now. :)

Anonymous said...

Yep, I would so pick this book up because of the cover - it's lovely. Glad to hear that the book itself was good too!

Barrie said...

I hadn't heard of this books, so I really appreciate the review. And what an interesting cover!

Julie said...

Thanks for the review. It seems like it might be a bit of a personal story for the author as well.

tinylittlelibrarian said...

Sassy - it's funny how you can end up with a theme without meaning to, isn't it? Hope you enjoy!

Stephanie - I was glad it was good - I hate it when a fab cover hides a blah book!

Barrie - I'm glad you liked the review. That's what I love about the book blogosphere, finding books you might not otherwise have seen.

Julie - Thanks for the comment. I just checked her website and her mother did have cancer, sadly, and she's from Tennessee, so that's why the Southern part's so well-done. It doesn't look like she was overweight, but she certainly writes about it as though she'd experienced it.