Sunday, 12 October 2014

Book Review: The Appetites of Girls by Pamela Moses


     Self-doubting Ruth is coddled by her immigrant mother, who uses food to soothe and control. Defiant Francesca believes her heavy frame shames her Park Avenue society mother and, to provoke her, consumes everything in sight. Lonely Opal longs to be included in her glamorous mother’s dinner dates—until a disturbing encounter forever changes her desires. Finally, Setsu, a promising violinist, staves off conflict with her jealous brother by allowing him to take the choicest morsels from her plate—and from her future. College brings the four young women together as suitemates, where their stories and appetites collide. Here they make a pact to maintain their friendships into adulthood, but each must first find strength and her own way in the world. 

     I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway kindly held by Penguin Canada and once it arrived, I immediately starting reading it. This book is different from most others that I read as it is an Adult book, but I believe that any girl of any age could equally enjoy this book as mush as I did. It's a story of growing and learning, and to learn to love and accept the person you are. 

     The story follows four girls (Ruth, Opal, Setsu, and Francesca) who are very different from each other, but face similar struggles. At the beginning of the book, each character gives a background about themselves before entering college. I could relate in a lot of different ways to each of these characters stories, as I'm sure most girls could. As they begin to progress into their time in college, these four girls become strong women. They begin to face even greater challenges than before, but help and empower each other. After learning about their lives in college, the story goes on to tell us about their lives after college. This is where you begin to see each girl stand up for themselves, start loving the person they are, and chase their dreams. They all grow as an individual and, become what they've always wanted to be. Throughout all their struggles and challenges, their friendship remains strong, even after all the time that has passed since their college years. 

     This book was such an emotional roller coaster. At times I thought I was going to sob like a newborn, and other times I literally had to put the book down because I was so frustrated. I find though, Setsu's story was the most emotional for me. Every time the story was told from her point of view, I had to mentally prepare myself. I won't go into much detail, as I could spoil the book, but the things she went through and the challenges she faced were unbelievable. But, every character had different struggles. They all went through ups and downs as we all do in life.

     I think every girl should read this book, we could all learn valuable life lessons from it. This book not only taught me to be more self-accepting, but also showed me that I was not alone in my struggles in life. It informed me that everyone has troubles at one point in their lives, and that often we face similar challenges. I believe this book has changed me, I now understand that I must learn to love myself and not worry about what others think. I have to put myself first. 

     This book does talk a lot about self confidence and weight problems, something I know most girls have trouble cooping with. You learn that the number on the scale doesn't represent your value in this world. This book made me realize I need to stop worrying about how I look, that I don't need to change for anyone. Francesca is portrayed as a larger woman in the book, and her confidence is so inspiring. A fictional character has now become my role model. Francesca throughout the story remains strong and confident with her life and appearance, and demonstrates that you don't need a man or woman to make you feel beautiful. 

     Overall this was an excellent book that has taught me a lot of valuable life lessons. I recommend this book to all girls of any age, I believe any girl could enjoy this story and its amazing characters.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author:

     Pamela Moses grew up in New Jersey. She attended Brown University and received a master's in English from Georgetown. After graduating, she moved to Manhattan to teach English at a girls' school. She now lives outside of New York City with her husband and two children. THE APPETITES OF GIRLS is her first novel.

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