Supplee, Suzanne. Artichoke's Heart. New York: Dutton, 2008.
Unlike most 16-year-old girls, Rosemary dreads Christmas. The holiday doesn't ever bring her anything she wants. This year she gets a treadmill, 2 diet books, and tickets to the "Healing the Fat Girl Within"conference. Do you see a theme here? Yeah, so does Rosemary. If anything, it depresses her even more. Her gift to herself this Christmas is gaining 10 pounds. Here's how Rosemary sees her life: a fat girl with no friends, no boyfriend, a mom who won't defend her, and an aunt who constantly nags her. Could things get any worse? Yeah, they can. Rosemary's mom gets diagnosed with cancer. Rosemary feels that she has no control over her life. She tries to get some control back by dieting. She even starts exercising. As the pounds go away, Rosemary learns a few things about herself. Even when she weighed 200 pounds, people were willing to be her friend. A boy crushed on her while she still weighed 200 pounds. Her mother does love her.
What I thought: I picked this book up because I saw other reviews of it in the blogging community. The fact that it's set in Spring Hill, Tennessee endears it to me as I'm a native Tennessean. The interesting thing about this book is that for the first 10 pages or so it reads like an adult book. Rosemary has such a sarcastic, resigned voice that I assumed she was in her 20s or 30s. It wasn't until she mentioned going back to school that I realized she was only 16. I like the fact that the author addresses not just the physical issues of being fat (at Rosemary's heaviest, even her sweats won't fit) but also the mental issues (Rosemary continues to retain a low self image even after she's lost weight).