Saturday, May 4, 2013

Book Review: Jemima J. By Jane Green

Jemima J: A Novel About Ugly Ducklings and Swans

Jemima J

Jane Green

373 Pages

Published June 5th 2001 by Broadway

Jemima Jones is overweight. About one hundred pounds overweight. Treated like a maid by her thin and social-climbing roommates, and lorded over by the beautiful Geraldine (less talented but better paid) at the Kilburn Herald, Jemima finds that her only consolation is food. Add to this her passion for her charming, sexy, and unobtainable colleague Ben, and Jemima knows her life is in need of a serious change. When she meets Brad, an eligible California hunk, over the Internet, she has the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself–as JJ, the slim, beautiful, gym-obsessed glamour girl. But when her long-distance Romeo demands that they meet, she must conquer her food addiction to become the bone-thin model of her e-mails–no small feat.
With a fast-paced plot that never quits and a surprise ending no reader will see coming, Jemima J is the chronicle of one woman's quest to become the woman she's always wanted to be, learning along the way a host of lessons about attraction, addiction, the meaning of true love, and, ultimately, who she really is.
Jemima J was a book I thought I'd like a lot more than I actually did. It started off great but ended up lacking for me  later on - but I did love the super sweet ending!

I felt like the characters were for the most part fleshed out and realistic, but some were just annoying. First, our main character drove me absolutely batty, all while making me feel sorry for her at the same time. It wasn't that I felt sorry for her because she was overweight - I actually am as well, but only by 5 pounds or so, which I'm quite happy with - I felt sorry for her because she didn't have any self confidence. Not a single shred of it - zilch. 

She started off thinking she was useless and like a ghost to people, all because she had some extra poundage. Everything changed in her life when she met Brad, a California gym junkie, on the world wide web, which back then wasn't very old (the book was written in 1999!) She pretends to be some gym obsessed, skinny sexy woman and of course, he takes the bait and wants to meet her. In the course of a few short months she becomes obsessed with being skinny - it literally takes over her life. I have a few gripes about this. 

First, she wants to get to 120 pounds. Okay, that's fine if you're like 5'5 or something like that. She's 5'7! I'm 5'8 and I'd be sick at 120!! I was super skinny back when I was 15 and 135! I feel like she's being unrealistic. Second, she pretty much stops eating, only having salads and stuff. She has no enjoyment in life ans she works out for hours a day. All she cares about is being skinny, even when she's already reached her goal weight she doesn't relax, not until much later on in the book.

She's also very gullible  believing everything Brad says. There is some very suspicious behavior going on and she doesn't really question it. Come on and stand up for yourself Jemima!! 

Other characters were ok for the most part. Her roommates were annoying and bitchy, as was a lot of people in the story. Brad was a sleezeball. I had an inkling of what was going on from the start, but had no idea it was so... slimy  I mean - who does what he did?! Then there was Ben. Kind, sweet, caring Ben. I might of had a bit of a crush. :)

What kept me going is probably the plot. It was pretty interesting, once you take out all the bits talking about weight loss and food obsessions. And the parts describing the binging  which for some reason made me feel sick. 

I thought it was exciting seeing her life change, because in the end she had gained some confidence. That I can appreciate. I loved the descriptions of London and how the author knew how the people talked, what they ate, everything. The same goes for Los Angelos. She clearly did her research.

Writing Style 
Despite hating many of the characters in this book and overall not particularly enjoying it, I still think I'll pick up and try another book by this author, solely because of her unique writing style. She mixes up perspectives, some from the stand-point of a narrator telling a story about Jemima or any of the other characters, and some straight from Jemima's point of view. Her words flowed well and came out smooth, keeping me entertained. 

Overall this book was ok, but not something I'd read again. 

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