ARC Review: Picture Me

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Book Title/Author: Picture Me by Lori Weber

Publication Date/Publisher: March 1, 2014/James Lorimer and Company
Series: No
Source and Format: Received an advanced copy from the publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 1.5 stars
From Goodreads:
When a well-meaning English teacher has overweight student Krista read aloud a poem about body image titled “Barbie Doll” in class, she ignites a simmering bullying event based on Krista’s appearance. Krista’s best friend, and witness to the event, Tessa, is suspended for fighting to defend her friend. The girl who bullies Krista seems unaffected by the incident at school and more concerned with what an older guy thinks of her. But as the three characters’ paths intersect, their inner lives are revealed. Each emerges as a much more complicated individual than their simple bully, target, and witness labels.
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Picture Me is the story of three 13 year old girls and what happens to them after a bullying incident. They are also all pretty obsessed with Paris Hilton – so either she is just getting big in Canada or this was written a long time ago and just recently published.

 

Tessa is best friends with Krista and defends her honor during the incident. Tessa’s dad was killed after an IED explosion in Afghanistan and her mother works semi-part-time in a cafe. It’s up to Tessa to raise her younger sister, especially after her mom trips on a can and has to be on crutches.

 

Krista is disgustingly fat (apparently) at 185 pounds and everyone at school makes fun of her. After the bullying incident, Krista orders diet pills on the internet and becomes completely dependent on them. She stops getting out of bed, and for some reason her parents let her and also Canada doesn’t have any truancy laws, based on the events of Picture Me.

 

Chelsea is the one doing the bullying. She has fantasies of moving to Los Angeles and being fabulous and famous. She starts hanging around an older guy, she guesses he’s around 20 but that’s never confirmed, and he takes her on his pizza delivery route. She thinks that this is her ticket out of her crummy life – Tony will start his own pizza place and she will be the model for it. After that, she thinks everyone Tony talks to is the guy that will discover her and make her a model.

 

What could be a great story for young girls about body image and health becomes a lesson in why you should be a good, skinny girl. The good, fat girl suffers horrible consequences, the bad, skinny girl suffers horrible consequences. But Tessa is not fat, and always sits in the front of the class and takes care of her little sister, so she ends up with a boyfriend and her family comes into quite a bit of money.

 

Picture Me also uses the Marilyn Monroe Argument, which is forever used to make curvy girls feel better about themselves. “Everyone loves her and she would be obese by today’s standards!,” they cry. One: not everyone loves a drug addled adultress. Two: There has to be a more modern example. Three: I don’t know how I would feel if my legacy was a photo of me with the words “Only Dogs Want Bones” photoshopped across it. All bodies are terrific! Think of all the things they can do! Empower yourself without tearing someone else down!

 

Lastly, Picture Me seems to take place in the Fall in Canada and everyone is wearing rain jackets all the time, so I don’t know what’s going on with the cover.
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