Slim to None by Jenny Gardiner

My first encounter with this author, and this foodie coming to grips story was engaging, if difficult at times.  And the whole reason for the difficulty was Abbie herself.  A food critic, she has thrown her entire being into food, and found herself in the midst of a crisis.

Slim to None

Outed as a food critic at a new spot, then photos splashed over all the newspapers in town, Abbie is unable to continue critique, as a large portion of that position requires on her anonymity. So, without her dream job and grossly overweight, Abbie has some hard truths to face in her life.

What emerges is a slow and often painful journey for Abbie as she comes to grips with her life, with all of the anger and hurt that she buried under food, her relationship with her husband and her battles with dieting.

Abbie was hard to like at first: she was funny in that self-deprecating way, but her defensive posturing about her weight, and her self-delusions about weight, her husband and her career were frustrating. But, in some ways, you get it: those are scary ideas to contemplate, and she’d always run from issues and buried them beneath clotted cream and butter.

A few small changes and walking her dog, as well as insight from a homeless man she befriended with gifts of warm meals has Abbie seeing some chances for change. No longer the premiere critic in New York, she takes her newly assigned column to detail her struggles with weight and diets, and finds an audience.

A  newer version of the Abbie we first meet emerges: one that is gaining in confidence as she settles old issues from her past, and find what truly matters to her. It’s more than a food story (although there are some wonderful recipes) but one of growth and searching for happiness, taking those chances to find what you truly love, and embracing it.

With wonderful secondary characters, several moments of laughter and a few of tears, this story is engaging. Abbie could be any person who struggles with weight, or old unsolved issues from childhood, and those issues as well as her struggle feel honest and real, making her a flawed, if wholly relatable woman.

Slim to None by Jenny Gardiner

Title: Slim to None
Author: Jenny Gardiner
Published by: Diversion Books
ISBN: 1518611222
Published on: 28 July 2011
Format:eBook
Source: Publisher
Pages: 357
Rated: four-stars
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See this Title on Goodreads

Abbie Jennings is Manhattan's top food critic until her expanding waistline makes staying incognito at restaurants impossible. Her cover blown on Page Six of the New York Post, her editor has no choice but to bench her—and suggest she use the time off to bench-press her way back to anonymity. Abbie’s life has been built around her career, and therefore around celebrating food. Forced to drop the pounds if she wants her primo gig back, Abbie must peel back the layers of her past and confront the fears that have led to her current life.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

 

 Except I know deep down that what’s done is done: the fat cat is out of the bag.

I know, I know, it’s not like I didn’t realize I’d physically expanded beyond acceptable societal standards. I’m the first to admit nothing I own fits me without a serious amount of physical exertion to tug it onto my body. Which then leaves me huffing and puffing, I’m so out of shape. But it’s always been my private thing. Even William has never faulted me for it.

Sure, other people have probably noticed it. I see their looks when I pass them on the street. The handsome men whose gazes catch my eye for a split second, before they turn away, repulsed at what they see. Or when someone bounces off of me on a busy Manhattan sidewalk because even though they turn sideways, they can’t help but ricochet off of my generous flesh.

Human pinballs, they are, and yours truly is the rubber bouncer.

Step right up, folks! A hundred points if you boing off the Lard-o Lady!

Don’t think for a minute I don’t notice their glares.

I guess I always just figured I was more than the sum of my parts.

Sure, I’m overweight. But I’m so much more than a bunch of blubber. I’m a smart woman with skills and intelligence and I’m friendly and nice and—I have really good qualities. Can someone tell me why all of these characteristics seem to be cancelled out just because I’m fat? Fat equals invisible at best, repugnant at worst. And in reality, I could be thin and beautiful and be a hateful person—maybe a supermodel who throws phones at people and beats staffers who covet her jeans—yet that seems to be more valued than all that I have to offer. Simply because of my physical appearance.

I heave a sigh of resignation.

To quote an old sage, Popeye, “I yam what I yam.”

Although maybe if I’d have laid off the hollandaise sauce in favor of the steamed spinach, I’d be a little less of me.

 

About Jenny Gardiner

Award-winning author Jenny Gardiners work has been found in Ladies Home Journal, the Washington Post and on NPRs Day to Day. She likes to say she honed her fiction writing skills while working as a publicist for a US Senator. Other jobs have included: an orthodontic assistant (learning quite readily that she was not cut out for a career in polyester), a waitress (probably her highest-paying job), a TV reporter, a pre-obituary writer, and a photographer (claim to fame: being hired to shoot Prince Charleswith a camera, silly!). She lives in Virginia with her husband, three kids, two dogs, one cat and a gregarious parrot. In her free time she studies Italian, dreams of traveling to exotic locales, and feels very guilty for rarely attempting to clean the house. Her debut novel, SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER, was the winner of the American Title III contest."

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