One of my reading guilty pleasures are transformation books. I am a total sucker for books in which the main character transforms from ugly duckling, whether real or imagined, to beautiful swan. The transformation doesn’t always have to be physical; it can be the awareness that the character develops to evolve into a better person but if there is some physical component to it then I voraciously tear through the book.
I’ve just finished “The Summer I Lost It” by Natalie Kath and it was quick, feel good read. Fourteen year old Kat is overweight and thinks that summer at a fat camp will be what she needs to do lose weight. Instead her parents gift her with a gym membership and as Kat gradually gets in shape she begins to understand that exercise and a better diet are key to weight loss and the transformation she seeks. Also, during her physical transformation she begins to develop more positive thoughts about herself and makes choices that she would have never made before.
The book is part fiction, part self help guide. As a person who’s teen years were spent struggling to be someone else, this book doesn’t send the message that you have to be a certain size to be happy. Although Kat initially thinks that she would have a boyfriend or that her life would be better if she were thinner, she comes to learn that her personality and who she is mentally trumps what she looks like.
The book doesn’t shame readers into feeling bad about the way they look or preach to readers that Kat’s method is the best method. This book offers Kat’s solution, in the form of a diary, and takes readers along for the ride. Now, I will totally contradict myself by also saying that Kat’s method to lose weight DOES seem to happen quite easily but this could totally be my own prejudices coming through.
Although the protagonist has to lose weight, I think this book will appeal to anyone who wants to be healthy. The advice is simple but not unsafe or preachy. As a mom of a tween I would be comfortable letting her read this book and following some of the advice that is shared. One thing I really liked was the cheat sheet that is recommended: write 5 things that make you feel good to keep you on track. I like that. Another way to reinforce that change is something that comes from within and not from a number on a scale.
What say you? Adults and tweens?
I’m getting ready to write my five,