As I once again procrastinate from doing school work, I wanted to talk about a book I just finished reading, Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall.
I’m the fat Puerto Rican–Polish girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs in her skin, or anywhere else for that matter. I’ve always been too much and yet not enough.
Sugar Legowski-Gracia wasn’t always fat, but fat is what she is now at age seventeen. Not as fat as her mama, who is so big she hasn’t gotten out of bed in months. Not as heavy as her brother, Skunk, who has more meanness in him than fat, which is saying something. But she’s large enough to be the object of ridicule wherever she is: at the grocery store, walking down the street, at school. Sugar’s life is dictated by taking care of Mama in their run-down home—cooking, shopping, and, well, eating. A lot of eating, which Sugar hates as much as she loves.
When Sugar meets Even (not Evan—his nearly illiterate father misspelled his name on the birth certificate), she has the new experience of someone seeing her and not her body. As their unlikely friendship builds, Sugar allows herself to think about the future for the first time, a future not weighed down by her body or her mother.
Soon Sugar will have to decide whether to become the girl that Even helps her see within herself or to sink into the darkness of the skin-deep role her family and her life have created for her.
It was one of the free downloads Amazon offers its prime members once in a while and I’ve had it downloaded on my kindle for some time before I finally sat down and read it. At first, it was a bit difficult for me to read because the heroine’s situation was terrible, but not so terrible that it grabbed my attention like a horrible car wreck would on the freeway. It was painful to read how awful the heroine’s, Sugar, family treated her, how awful her thoughts were about herself, and how she would turn to food to forget the emotional pain. But mostly it was painful because of how normal and not so out of the ordinary the story setting was, and made me more aware that unfortunately there are people out there whose lives are very much like Sugar’s.
But then I kept reading and a beam of sunshine came through in the book in the form of the hero, Even. Their developing friendship and her slowly but surely blossoming into the person she truly was underneath it all really warmed my heart. The setting is in high school, which is a time that is not something I can easily recall at this point, but the book is still very relatable. The popular kids, not-so-popular kids, drugs, bullying, rumors, and all that fun stuff are themes in this book. Then there’s the theme of family, of how family situations affect people in different ways and of how people can change, both in good and bad ways.
When I finally put the book down (well, my kindle really), I felt like this:
SO good! I highly recommend, but just be prepared to have a serious case of the feels afterwards. 😛