Thursday, August 9, 2012

What’s in a number?

Face it, we’ve all been there. You step on the scale first thing after waking up in the morning, still half-asleep, only to find that the scale is broken. Somebody must have bumped the dial, jumped on it, dropped a brick on it, or found some other way to break it. Either that or you’re still asleep. Because you know there is NO WAY the dial is correct. Since the scale is *in your mind* most definitely broken, you dismount, tap the scale with your toe to reset it, and then try again, only to see the same number staring back at you.

What is it about that number that determines a person’s mood for the rest of the day? I catch myself reacting to that greater than / less than weight, basing my day’s attitudes and behaviors on that number. Depending on what the scale says each day, I eat more/less food; I dress in looser/tighter clothes; sometimes I even contemplate going to the gym because of it. My outer appearance doesn’t actually change from a few pounds here or there, so why do I find myself having such exaggerated responses to that one pesky number? After all, what’s really in a number? Why are we as a society so obsessed with a simple 2-3 digit figure?

Throughout my first year working at the library, I have been amazed by the wide variety of books focused on weight. Cookbooks, health and diet books, weight-loss books, exercise books--everybody has their own spin on the topic of weight. Amid all those books, however, I rarely see books in the fiction section that tackle the subject of body weight. That’s why I was so excited to find 150 Pounds by Kate Rockland.

150 Pounds features two main characters on very opposite sides of the scale—literally. Alexis Albright, author of the blog Skinny Chick, starts out at 100 lbs when the reader first meets her, and Shoshana Weiner, author of the blog Fat and Fabulous, starts out at 215 lbs. As authors of drastically different blogs, both characters start out with polar opposite views on weight. Alexis is rigid in her diet and exercise regimes, while Shoshana embraces life and the delectably sweet and buttery treats that go with it. Over the next several months, the reader follows both main characters as the life experiences thrown their way involve (you guessed it) weight gain and weight loss until they both weigh 150 pounds. Their perspectives on weight shift as their personal weights change, reminding readers that weight really is in the eye of the beholder. So, what’s in a number, really?

I hope you enjoy this sweet treat of a book, but a word of caution—the cover will make you crave cupcakes!

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