Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Being Sixteen by Allyson Braithwaite Condie

Juliet Kendall has been looking forward to her sixteenth birthday for what feels like forever. At first, it seems like being sixteen will be as perfect as she dreamed---she has great friends, a cute almost-boyfriend, a spot on the varsity girls' basketball team, and even a car of her own. But, as the year goes on, she discovers that her sister Carly is hiding a secret, and realizes that, in fact, being sixteen may be her hardest year yet.

Being Sixteen is a coming-of-age story about two sisters and their different struggles. It addresses what it means to have a testimony, what it meant to be a friend and a sister, and what's involved in the dealing with and overcoming an eating disorder.

So, I haven't really been a fan of LDS fiction for a while now. Not that there is anything wrong with it, I just feel like I've read the same exact story about a million times told by so many different authors. It just got... old. So I stopped reading them.

This book was so completely different from any LDS fiction I've read. I actually really liked this book. I liked that it talked about REAL things. Real struggles that real girls have. As a member of the LDS church, I looked at age sixteen much as Juliet does. It was when I finally got to experience life. ;) Driving, dating, high school dances (and high school drama), etc. And much like Juliet also realizes, 16 wasn't all that it was cracked up to be.

I could also relate to Carly in this book and my heart broke for her and her family. What girl doesn't know what it's like to have body issues? I remember when I was in Jr. High... puberty hit and my body started changing. It sucked. I had gone from having a tiny little-girl body to having a more grown-up hourglass figure, and  although I was still thin, it bothered me. One day at lunch, a guy I had a huge crush on made a not-so-nice comment about my "curves". I was devastated. From that day on, for a very long time, I wouldn't eat around anyone. I never ate school lunch. I wouldn't eat meals with my family. I really didn't eat much ever. I don't remember what finally made me change. Maybe it was once I hit High School and really just didn't care anymore. Maybe it was that the girls all had "curves" like me by then. I don't know. But I am so glad I let all of my (major) body issues go. I don't know if I know a single person, men included, who look in the mirror and are 100% content with how they look.

I love that someone (Ally Condie rocks!) had the guts to address this issue that is so much bigger than we all think. It is SO HARD being a teenager. And yes, I know not everyone ends up with an eating disorder, but it's one of those ugly things that no one ever wants to talk about so it gets swept under the rug and everyone pretends it doesn't exist. Especially with Bulemia. I applaude Ally Condie for taking on the huge task in such a respectful way.

I think mothers, daughters, sisters-- women in general should read this book. And then let your body issues go. :)

1 comment:

Chantele Sedgwick said...

My thoughts exactly. Great review and I'm so glad you liked the book.