Thursday 26 June 2014

How to Lose Weight and Alienate People by Ollie Quain

I have to admit to being engrossed whilst reading this story. It was both shocking and a bit depressing to realise and comprehend the battle with weight in the midst of this story. Every event a battle of wills, each action a possible temptation. One bite means a thousand reactions.

When you think of the battle on a level of eating disorders it perhaps easy to acknowledge how difficult it can be for someone who suffers from such a disorder. However when you equate that to the mindset of the majority of women it just feels like a blanket of literal weight falling upon the shoulders of society.

Society has created a legion of women, who fight the eternal battle with calories every day for most of their lives, just to be accepted by others and themselves.

Vivian spends most of her time using her coping mechanisms in her battle against weight gain. Her drug use, the smoking, shots with hot spices, avoiding anything that will make her hungry. She is a character the reader will either instantly like for her supposedly fun-loving nature or dislike her for her selfish ways.

Maximilian’s story is unfortunately also right on the button. The showbiz industry will not cast a homosexual in a straight role and most certainly not in action roles. Even homosexual roles are played by straight men. Quain uses Rupert Everett as an example, he has actually spoken out about the fact he doesn’t get cast in certain roles because of his sexual orientation.

I can’t even imagine how many well-known public figures have to lead a double life to uphold the public image the industry wants them to have and a secret one that they keep hidden in the proverbial closet. They shouldn’t have to choose between their career and a happy life and yet they do.

Max also travels a well trodden path of lies and deception, which comes as a surprise to streetwise Vivian. She really believed the combination of eccentric star and frustrated lonely man. She knows something is off-key but can’t quite put her finger on it.

I started out thinking Vivian was a vivacious IT girl/woman with a carefree life, then I thought she was a selfish brat with addiction problems, but in the end all I could see was the hurt child she will always be and her constant inner battle with her own image and body.

I have to admit to liking her. Why? Because despite all her oddities, hang-ups and often illegal coping mechanisms, she is what society has made her. All of us carry the burden of that weight and her weight.

Overall I really enjoyed the way Quain has her own very distinctive writing voice. So much so you can almost hear her telling the story, which is filled with witty quips and anecdotes.
I highly recommend this book. It is both entertaining, has a strong subliminal message and is a very good read.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK & MIRA UK.

Buy How to Lose Weight or Alienate People at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read She Can't Just Help Herself by Ollie Quain.

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