Once upon a time in the 2000s, chatting on the Internet was cool. You could make friends with people FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY WITHOUT HAVING TO LEAVE YOUR CHAIR! We all bought into this amazingness; I can’t tell you how many online buddies I had on my AOL Instant Messenger – seriously, does anyone still use this?
Also, once upon a time in the 2000s, fat = hideous, monstrous, horrible beast.
Today’s Retro Read is Jemima J, by Jane Green.
Jemima J touches on this subject and features a woman in her 20s who is overweight. At 5’7″ and 217 pounds, she’s clearly enormous. I’m talking Shallow Hal Gwyneth in a fat suit enormous. (please note the huge amount of sarcasm here)
In the tradition of “fat characters” Jemima can’t get the attention of any man and only lost her virginity because they were in the dark. She has a crush on her super hot boss, but he barely notices her. Clearly because she’s fat. So, what’s a fat girl in the 2000s to do?! Duh… run to the Internet!
Jemima begins chatting with an American and develops a bit of a crush on him. When he asks for a picture, she panics and does the smartest possible thing: she photoshops (or whatever they had in 2000s England) a picture of herself with an image of a teeny tiny skinny woman. And the man goes nuts. He’s in love with her! He must meet her! When Jemima is faced with having to go visit him in America – Southern California, to be exact – she begins a ridiculous workout/diet schedule. She eats next to nothing and works out 5-6 hours a day. Within 3 months she’s miraculously lost 80 pounds! (Now, I don’t know about you… but when I want to lose weight for a guy I last about an hour before I say “Whatever. His loss if he doesn’t like me just the way I am. Now gimme that cookie.”)
As you can imagine, crazy times ensue and Jemima realizes that being skinny isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. That she was probably just as amazing fat as she is now that she’s skinny. Stuff goes wrong with the American man, she gets upset and can’t figure out what’s wrong with her, and she ends up with her hot boss – who finally pays attention to her now that she’s skinny.
At the end Jemima realizes that who she is matters more than what she looks like. She develops healthy eating habits, an appreciation for working out in moderation, and becomes happy with her body. She isn’t anorexic skinny any longer, but she begins to understand the need for maintaining a healthy weight.
As a young adult (early 20s) this was probably not the BEST book to read… I’m not gonna lie: I considered going on the Jemima J diet. Luckily I was on the cusp of self-acceptance when I read it, and I like cookies too much to really care. 🙂
Overall, despite my sort of snarky talkings on about this book, I really remember enjoying it. Jemima J was fun, it eventually had a good message, and there were plenty of snickers. Although it does go against a lot of my lady sensibilities, it was worth the read and, worth mentioning for a Retro Read!
*I think this book was published in 2001… but
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