Eat, and Love Yourself by author Sweeney Boo, Illustrations Lilian Klepakowsky
Eat, and Love Yourself is a graphic novel about a young woman, Mindy. Mindy suffers from bulimia and body dysmorphic disorder.
She’s an objectively full figured gal who is actually drawn as such.
Witness her thighs as compared to her friends’.
This alone was refreshing to see in a book like this. I can actually see in the way she dresses and holds herself how she feels about her body and I can see that her body is different than those around her.
All too often I see a “chubby” girl depicted on television or in movies and they’re maybe a size 6 instead of a 1. We’ve finally gotten to a point where fuller figured women are being shown in the media and it’s especially nice to see it here where it matters most.
Mindy has issues with her weight. She does not have the body positivity that we all strive for but so few attain. She binge eats and then purges in an unhealthy cycle that causes her a lot of guilt and shame.
She gets approached by young men but cannot understand why they would actually want to ask her out. She gets awkward and uncomfortable and ends up home alone with her snacks instead.
At home she’ll eat her feelings until they catch up to her and she forces them out and flushes them down the toilet. Mindy understands that this is not a healthy way to cope but she doesn’t know any other.
One day she buys a new chocolate bar from the convenience store and discovers that it takes her back in time as a witness to her childhood. Through this chocolate bar she is able to see her past from the outside.
Being able to look objectively at the path that led to her issues allows her to give herself the advice that she’s been dismissing from therapists. She now knows that she has to put in the work to get better.
The story is sweet and simple. As a young woman who has struggled with her appearance I found it generally relatable. We’ve all been there. Experienced those harsh moments looking into a mirror or just wishing that we looked different in one way or another.
The biggest downside of the book is that it never really drives the message or the emotions home. The time travel aspect is cute but it doesn’t enhance the story much more than basic flashbacks would. Additionally, I felt like I just never knew any of the characters enough to become very emotionally attached.
I hope that Mindy goes on to get the help that she needs and I hope that maybe this book helps some other women who need it as well. But I feel the same about the character Mindy as I do about any hypothetical women. A basic detachment that allows me to brush this one aside and on to the next story.
It’s not bad by any means, but I have read many stories about dealing with eating disorders that were more personal, more emotional, more intense, more everything. This one simply doesn’t rise to the ranks.
However, if you or someone you know needs to know that they’re not alone in feeling unhappy about their weight this would be a good read and one that isn’t going to trigger as many traumas as a stronger tale would.
3/5 chocolate bars 🍫🍫🍫
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