Review: thinandbeautiful.com by Liane Shaw

12 Aug

Second Story Press,2009

Maddie finds a dangerous “thinspiration” on-line

Seventeen-year-old Maddie has always felt a hole in her life, but she has finally found a way to fill it with her quest to mold her body into her ideal, thinnest shape. When she comes across the world of “thinspiration” websites, where young people encourage each other in their mission to lose weight, she quickly becomes addicted. Finally, she has found a place where she is understood and where she can belong.

Maddie becomes a part of a group of friends who call themselves theGWS, “Girls Without Shadows”, on the pro-anorexia website thinandbeautiful.com. Here she finds the respect and support she feels she doesn’t get from her family and friends in the so-called real world. Now in a rehab facility where they are trying to fix a problem she doesn’t think she has, Maddie is forced to keep a diary tracing how she arrived at this point. Angry that she is barred from accessing her online friends, Maddie refuses to believe she needs help. Will a tragedy change her mind?

From Second Story Press website.

This book made me mad. And frustrated. And sad. And hopeless. Seriously, as I read about Maddie and watched her descend into the world of eating disorders I think I felt every emotion humanly possible. I honestly wanted to take Maddie and shake the crap out of her for being so stupid, but at the same time I could understand where she was coming from. No, I don’t have an eating disorder. But I do have body image issues (what girl or woman doesn’t?) so I could understand the thought process that led to her eating disorder.

Maddie’s story is pretty straightforward and I imagine that her journey is fairly typical. In fact, every once in a while as I was reading I thought that maybe her story was a bit too cliche, but then I kinda realized that’s the beauty of thinandbeautiful.com: there were no huge surprises or twists. No gimmicks. It was just a story of a girl with an eating disorder. With that being said, there was one part towards the end that did, however, seem a bit cliche to me. I can’t say too much without giving plot away, but I wish that it could have been done a bit differently. It kinda took me out of the story for a bit and made it seem less about Maddie and more about making a point.

My only other real complaint about thinandbeautiful.com is the cover. Yes, it shows a girl on the computer and since Maddie was always online it makes sense. I just wish they wouldn’t have included the girl, especially one who looks like she has a pretty perfectly healthy thin body. I don’t know, I just think that it sends the wrong message. The back cover has a picture of socked feet on a scale that would have been a cool cover. Or maybe an image of a computer that is stretched thin. I was okay with the cover until I read the book. Then, I don’t know, it just rubbed me the wrong way. But who knows? Maybe that’s the purpose of the cover.

This wasn’t an easy, light, fluffy read. It was hard and the author left nothing out. Saying I enjoyed it seems off because of the subject matter, but I did enjoy reading it. Maddie was a likable character and I was rooting for her the whole book. Reading thinandbeautiful.com also made me re-evaluate my own relationship with food, which isn’t always the greatest. And I think that is the real beauty of the book.

Thanks to Second Story Press for the review copy.

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5 Responses to “Review: thinandbeautiful.com by Liane Shaw”

  1. amymckie August 12, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    Sounds like a good book. I’m guessing it explores the use of websites to promote things like that and how it hurts women? I’m intrigued!

    • lavenderlines August 12, 2010 at 11:07 am #

      The website was definitely part of the plot, but I didn’t find it was the main point.
      So, you wanna borrow it? 🙂

      • amymckie August 12, 2010 at 11:08 am #

        Sigh, you are going to be the death of me. My tbr shelf will fall on me because I keep adding to it but not reading from it 😉 But yes please. LOL

      • lavenderlines August 12, 2010 at 11:14 am #

        Well, you could always get a new bookcase specifically for books from me. 😛

      • amymckie August 12, 2010 at 11:15 am #

        LOL now I’m even more scared! That would be an awful lot of books. haha.

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