Friday, 16 May 2014

Guest Book Review: Ollie Quain - How to Lose Weight and Alienate People

Reviewed by Sarah Brew

Is there such a thing as the perfect body?

Vivian Ward thinks she is in total control of her life. Actually...she s thirty five, an out-of-work actress who puts more effort into partying than getting good parts, is estranged from her family and emotionally unavailable to her boyfriend. 

Truth is, the only thing she s in control of is what s on her plate... 

But then she meets movie star Maximilian Fry, who's just as screwed up, and journeys into a world of celebrity even more damaging than the one she was already living in. Will image triumph, or will she realise that some of her answers lie within?

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback 

Being thin means everything to Vivian Ward, an out-of-work actress. What she eats is about the only thing she can control as her life spirals downwards. At 35, she is estranged from her family and emotionally unavailable to her boyfriend – and her dedication to partying is greater than her dedication to her profession.

As it seems things can’t get worse, she meets movie star Maximilian Fry and finds herself in a world of celebrity even more damaging than the one she was already living in. The last thing she wants is for her past to be exposed – but the unthinkable happens. Vivian needs to realise that her dedication to self-image is untenable and she needs a complete re-think. 

Written with a light humorous touch and excellently witty dialogue this is, nonetheless,  a book to make you stop and think about what really matters in life. It highlights the assumptions we make about body image and challenges our pre-conceptions as it highlights the futility of concentrating solely on outward appearances. I think the title lets the book down – firstly because of its negative connotation and secondly because it just doesn’t sound like a fiction book: shame. I didn’t warm to Vivian as a character – I found her rather cold and I lost sympathy with her treatment of Luke. 

Despite that I found this a compelling and enjoyably read (albeit somewhat dark) as I really wanted her to see the error of her ways – and to make the changes needed. It also gave an interesting insight into a world of which I know little.

I'd like to thank Shane at Cherish PR for sending a copy of the book to Sarah to review, and Sarah for reviewing it for me.  

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