Skinny (TLC Tour Review)

Book cover for "Skinny" by Diana Spechler.Title: Skinny

Author: Diana Spechler

Publication Year: 2011

Pages: 368

Genre: Fiction

Source: Review copy from the publisher, through TLC Tours

From the cover:

After her father’s death, twenty-six-year-old Gray Lachmann finds herself compulsively eating. Desperate to stop bingeing, she abandons her life in New York City for a job at a southern weight-loss camp. There, caught among the warring egos of her devious co-counselor, Sheena; the self-aggrandizing camp director, Lewis; his attractive assistant, Bennett; and a throng of combative teenage campers, she is confronted by a captivating mystery: her teenage half-sister, Eden, whom Gray never knew existed. Now, while unraveling her father’s lies, Gray must tackle her own self-deceptions and take control of her body and her life.

Visceral, poignant, and often wickedly funny, Skinny illuminates a young woman’s struggle to make sense of the link between hunger and emotion, and to make peace with her demons, her body, and herself.

I’ve read quite a few books that touch on eating disorders over the past year, and so when the chance to read this one came up, I jumped at it. It seemed to have a twist – the whole weight-loss camp thing. The idea of weight-loss camp both intrigues and disgusts me – I guess it’s sort of like “ex-gay” camp for me that way. I both want to know what on earth goes on there, and want to shake people back into their senses and stop sending small children there. So I just had to try reading Skinny.

I’m so very glad that I did. It was different than the other eating disorder books that I’ve read in the last while; for one thing, it was focused more on the psychology of the eating disorder and didn’t touch nearly as much on the actual physical part of it (for example, the vomiting part of binging, or the myriad ways in which someone convinces those around her that she really has eaten today). Instead, Skinny really got inside Gray’s head, and allowed the reader to see her struggles with weight gain and weight loss, with seeing herself as a different person from what she used to be, and (most interestingly) the way that she interacts with other “fat” people – especially in her journal.

Also, it was fascinating for me to read a book about eating disorders that wasn’t aimed at teenagers. Yes, there are teenagers in the book (mostly the campers), but they weren’t really the focus. The focus, rather, was on Gray (in her late twenties), and on her relationships with those around her, including her recently deceased father. (Plus, there was way too much talk of sex and marriage for this to be a book geared towards teens.) That was kind of refreshing – that an author would broach this subject in such a way that recognizes that this isn’t just a “kid thing”, it’s something that affects women of all ages.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I particularly loved the scathing critique of weight-loss camps, made personal through the construction of this specific camp. Skinny fulfilled my requirements for intrigue and personal struggle, and is definitely a book I would recommend.


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4 thoughts on “Skinny (TLC Tour Review)”

    1. I know, I loved finally reading a book that dealt with eating disorders in adults! It’s something that’s just not talked about as often as it should be.

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