One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London fulfilled
the prompt “Book that
Discusses Body Positivity” for the PopSugar 2021 Reading Challenge. In this
novel, a plus-sized fashion blogger becomes a contestant on a reality dating
so happy I chose this novel for the body positivity prompt. The main character Bea
Schumacher is a fashionista and not a size 4. In fact, she’s above average (which
is sixteen for American women) ranging in the size 20s. She blogs about her
struggle with her image, posts all sorts of pics of herself in various outfits,
and is never embarrassed by her looks. She takes the good with the bad and lets
ugly comments and trollish remarks roll off her back. Until she posts about a dating
show. She mentions how they never have anyone her size, either male or female.
Then boom, she’s asked to be on the show.
Of course, the producer starts with total commitment
to the “we can find
love for any type of body.” Then she’s given an array of bachelors who look like
models. Well, except one guy. Bea is uncomfortable with the fitness and glamor
of these men. She doubts anyone could ever date her. And on the first day, a male
contestant walks off. A rating trick, but nonetheless, it hurts Bea.
I could go on and on about the ugly things that happen
to Bea throughout this book. She’s
an amazing character and tries hard throughout the novel to maintain her
message, “I’m perfect as I am.” She, like every plus-sized woman, has doubts, worries
what others will think, and tries to embrace the “this is who I am and what I
look like.” Her family is super supportive, as are her friends. The men though…
gonna throw this right out there, and you’ll probably never read my blog again.
I hate reality shows with a passion. They are scripted junk. These “bachelor”
type shows about falling in love and getting married. Please, oh please leave
me out. I hated she went on the show (the entire premise for the book), hated
how the men and producers treated her, hated that she had to choose one of
those losers in the end. She was better than ALL of them by far and deserved
better. (I’ll live with her choice, relieved she did not choose a certain other
Anyway, the story was about body positivity, but it
was also about being large and dealing with a world that hates you as soon as
you show up. I can relate to this. I’ve
been heavy for about thirty years now. I’m okay with who I am and how I look.
But at my age, I have some perspective. Younger women who deal with these
issues have the double-edged sword of being told “be yourself” and “be rail-thin”
at the same time. No wonder all young adults are so depressed.
The novel is technically a romance, as it has a happy
ending for Bea and her chosen guy. Personally, I wish the author ditched the
romance genre, made this woman’s
fiction, and have Bea find a real man to love.
It sounds like I didn’t love the story. I loved it very much but wanted a
different ending for my bestie, Bea.
I give One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London Four
Super Fabulous Plus-Sized Bikinis.