Fighting Weight has taken the top slot for my favorite books of 2018 as well as being an all-time favorite read for me. How could it not? This book is written with so much emotion, and it is an issue that affects so many women and men, and Gillian Jones handled it with so much sensitivity and love. I knew that the first moment I read her note to readers and her dedication.
Alina was just a child when her world was turned upside down. Her mother, who had once been so loving turned to alcohol, and that loving mother became a monster. This poor child had to endure such emotional abuse at the hands of the person who was supposed to love her no matter what. Her bright spot was her brother, Lucky, who would take her outside and teach her about the stars and constellations in the sky so they wouldn’t have to hear the abuse that was also heaped on their father. When he made an attempt to leave and protect his children, her mother committed the ultimate betrayal. So, she and Lucky were sent to live with their aunt and uncle. What should have been a respite from all the hurt became even worse than living with her mother. The insults about who she was as a person…worthless and her weight, she was always accused of being fat and ugly even though others thought she was beautiful. Alina tried so hard to please her aunt, but nothing was ever good enough. Then, she gave in and believed her. Therefore, she turned on herself. Now, her bully wasn’t just her aunt but herself. To finally have some control, she became bulimic, and she would struggle and fight so hard to bring herself back up from that depth of darkness.
Alina has to be one of the strongest heroines I’ve met in my many years of reading books. Her strength is inspiring to me. As a child, she never should have endured what she had to. It was just as damaging to her as having bruises if she had been physically abused. The bruises she sustained were inside, and thus harder for others to see her pain. Thankfully, she had an amazing group of friends, a loving brother, and a loving boyfriend, Slater. With their support, she was able to do amazing things.
Slater gives new meaning to the words “unconditional love.” He has seen her at her lowest, and instead of running away, he ran toward her. He was the angel to the demon that was Alina’s own voice trying to drag her back down to the darkness she was trying to escape.
I know I haven’t given much of a synopsis of the book, but I felt it was more important to give my feelings after reading it. This was a review that was quite difficult for me to write. I think so many people struggle with eating disorders, and the origin comes from various sources….mean people, society, and even like Alina, from those who are supposed to love us. It can come from hurtful words and for myself, rejection and the need to be in control. As a child when the world you know is turned upside down, you have no control over it. Some of us grasp on to what little control we are able to have. For me, it was my intake of food. My issue was from the rejection and abandonment of the father I adored. I was his princess, and I didn’t understand that when he left my mother, he was essentially leaving me too. I tried very hard to be perfect thinking that would work, yet it never did. It is an ongoing struggle, especially when life throws curveballs. As with Alina, I am lucky to have a loving mother, stepdad, sister, two wonderful sons, and the man who for the past 27 years has showed me I am worthy. Yes, I have my very own Slater. Thank you, Gillian Jones, for writing this heartbreaking yet beautiful book. You have given us so much hope and proved there are good people out there who care!