Saturday, June 1, 2013

Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas

** 3.5 out of 5 Stars **

**Warning:  Spoilers Ahead**

Fashion design major Cat Mitchell has a closet full of gorgeous clothes - and not a single thing fits. After two years of runway modeling for easy cash, an accident shattered her lower leg bone and her self-esteem in just one swift fall. Ten months of no exercise, prescription steroids, comfort eating and yoga pants meant returning to campus as a size twelve instead of her former size two. 

When her gorgeous long-time friend with benefits sees her for the first time after her accident and snubs her in front of all her friends, Cat’s self-image hits rock bottom. Her sorority sisters all insist that she looks gorgeous, but all Cat sees is the roll of her stomach when she sits down, or the dimpling at the back of her thighs that wasn't there last year. Cat’s therapist prescribes something radical to stop the downward spiral - nude modeling for a nearby college's human form drawing classes. 

When Cat faces her fears and bares it all for the class, she realizes that she's posing naked in front the most gorgeous, buffest guy she's ever seen in her life. He asks her out after the class, and after one steamy night together, Cat's absolutely smitten.

Nate’s pretty close to perfect – he takes Cat rock climbing when he discovers that it makes her feel strong and becomes a great chef after he learns that the perfect pesto sauce makes her swoon. Cat starts to feel like her old self again - confident and beautiful - as long as Nate's around. Even when he discourages her from entering the Real Woman Project, a design competition for plus-sized apparel, she reasons that he's just trying to prevent old body image wounds from splitting wide open again.

But when Cat goes home with Nate for Thanksgiving, she discovers something shocking from his recent past that proves that he hasn’t always been so encouraging of women of all shapes and sizes. Cat has no idea what to think, but she does know one thing - this might destroy their relationship before it's even had a chance to get off the ground. 

Before Cat can figure out whether the real Nate is the sensitive, adoring guy she fell in love with, or an undercover asshole, she'll have to finally feel comfortable in her own skin - even if it means leaving him forever.

First I have several things to say before I get to the review.  First off, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING A SIZE 12!!!  Seriously, I can't say that enough.  I'm a size 12.  Geez, that doesn't make me fat nor does it make something wrong with me because I'm not society's idea of perfect.  This book sent a good message for the most part.  But I just have a problem with books, authors and characters who make such a big deal out of it.  I am not a stick, my bones don't poke out of my skin, I enjoy food, and I'm perfectly happy with the way I look.  The first thing I did when I finished this book was run to Google and look for a pic of the author.  I couldn't find one and it's probably a good thing.  If I had and she had been rail thin I probably would have given this book 1 star.

   This is Robyn Lawley...she's a plus size model.  WTC???  This woman shouldn't even be considered plus size in the first place.  She's beautiful and she looks normal.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you a size 12!

Kat was a model, beautiful and I'm pretty sure she was full of herself at one point.  She had a riding accident and comes back to school 60 lbs heavier than when she left.  She went from a size 2 (big surprise...another character who is rail thin) to a size 12.  She is still beautiful but everything has changed for her.  She has huge hang ups about her wait.  I can see how 60 lbs would upset someone but to the extent she takes it no.  When she returns to school, the boy she's interested in snubs her in front of her friends.  She spends most of the book complaining about it and the weight gain.  She's in counseling for her issues which lead her to model naked in an art class and this is how she meets Nate.

Nate is perfect.  He's beautiful, toned, knows all the right things to say and falls in love with Kat instantly. He makes Kat feel beautiful again.  He takes her out to do things that make her feel stronger.  She blooms with him.

As all books go they begin the relationship and it's smoothing sailing for awhile.  They figure out that they were each other's first kiss.  They attended a summer camp as teens and they have actually known each other for years.  He was the fat kid who everyone picked on and she was the pretty girl who was dared to play 7 minutes in heaven with him.  She wasn't ugly to him and she did actually kiss him.  He tolerates her temper tantrums over her weight issues.  All the while, doing this while he tries to convince her that she's beautiful the way she is.  

He takes her home for Thanksgiving and everything falls apart.  She is snooping through his bookshelf and comes across some articles from his life before he started school in the city with her.  He was a former bodybuilder and very arrogant   He said some really ugly things about overweight women and was just being a jerk all the way around.  Well she reads all this stuff and naturally she begins to question their relationship because she's a size 12 and he's been telling her she's beautiful.  She convinces herself it's a lie.  Here we are again, making issues about her weight again.  Everything about this book was based on how she feels, what she does.

So what does she do?  She runs naturally.  She leaves the poor boy upstairs asleep and takes off.  When he realizes she's gone she won't even speak to him.  Once he realizes what's going on, he keeps trying to talk to her but she's still refusing.  Eventually, she makes it to a fashion show where she's designed clothes and used herself as the model.  He attends to support her even though she doesn't want him there.  He gives the intro to her project and it was actually really sweet.

“But the truth is, from the moment I saw her again, I realized that not only do I not find the thinnest bodies the most attractive, but that what our bodies look like doesn't even factor into the equation. I love her just as much meeting her now as I would have if I met her two years ago, when she looked different.” “That girl’s name is Catherine,...“And since she asked me never to talk to her again, I just want this opportunity to tell her, for the first and last time. I love you, Cat. Thank you for everything.”

She's angry and upset and fumbles through her speech and then takes off running out the side door.  He follows her and tells her everything he said, he meant.  Then he tells her that he's moving back to California with his dad and what does she do?  The lets him walk away leaving her alone in the hallway.  STUPID GIRL!

Anyway, she goes home and starts thinking, realizing how stupid she's being and takes off after him.  Everything is forgiven and they move forward with their relationship.

I know it's pretty obvious that I can't stand the heroine.  I felt for what she's had to go through.  But her whining and temper tantrums just annoyed me.  The fact that she didn't even let him explain and just took off on him made me angry.  Who does that??  So no I didn't like her and I spent most of the book wanting to hit her in the face.  Nate was great...the only reason I kept reading the book.

I know I'm supposed to say something about the message the book sends and how it's okay to be a "big girl" but honestly I felt like the book made the weight a bigger issue than it needed to be.  I know what the author tried to accomplish but the character's constant whining ruined it for her.  I'm giving the book 3.5 Stars because it does send a some what decent message and the author has a good writing style.  I will probably read other books by her but it won't be about these issues.

My Kat/Nate


Side note..."my Kat" above is also a plus size model.  Does anyone else see a problem with this?  I'm built very similar to this woman.  She's not fat and no one in their right mind would accuse her of being so!