Artichoke’s Heart by Suzanne Supplee
Artichoke’s Heart was originally one of my picks for the 48 Hour Book Challenge, but I caved and read it yesterday. The story is about a girl named Rosemary who struggles with her weight. For her, walking across the cafeteria, or passing the popular girls in the hallway are just obstacles that she must get through during a day of high school. She turns to junk food for comfort and although her family has good intentions, they fail to give her the support she needs to successfully lose weight.
Somehow, Rosemary seems to break out of her rut and slowly begin to change her habits. As she starts to lose weight, she begins to open up to other people in her life. She starts dating her crush and forms a friendship with a girl who supports her efforts to improve herself.
Many characters in the book have their own issues, and Rosemary slowly begins to see that she is not the only one with a challenge to overcome. Rosemary’s mother is diagnosed with Hodgkins’ disease; her aunt is upset about her love life; and her seemingly perfect best friend has a difficulities in her social life.
This book is well-written and Rosie is so endearing and sympathetic that the reader finds him/herself cheering her on. My only gripe about this book is Rosie’s method of weight loss. She starts out using a shake product (similar to Slim Fast) and then graduates to solid food, but limits her diet to what she thinks of as “healthy foods”: celery, carrots, rice cakes, and tuna. She is successful in terms of losing weight, but it’s not healthy to eat that way for the long term. For young girls who identify with Rosie and her weight problems, it seems like bad nutritional advice to encourage teens to eat next to nothing and run 3 miles every morning.
Anyone who has struggled with weight loss in high school or just enjoys a fun story filled with colorful characters should try Artichoke’s Heart.