Book Review March 31st
by: Alessandra Thomas
★★★★ 4 Stars
When I first finished Picture Perfect I had really pleasant thoughts. The novel has all the necessary NA elements of a college setting, hot guy meets shy/unpopular girl and helps her bloom. Now that I let myself stew for a few days my opinion has become a bit more topsy survy. I will agree that this book is a self-esteem amper-upper and females of all ages should read it who suffer from weight issues. However, now the biggest issue I have with this book is that every character with a current or past weight problem has had some traumatic moment or event take place that knocks them off course and they gain all this weight. The reason I have an issue with this is not everyone who is overweight got that way because of an accident, bullying or traumatic childhood moment. This book seemed to place blame on these moments and worked in order to give the characters something to overcome yet many young adults are born overweight and struggle constantly with eating healthy and exercising. Basically, not every overweight person has a reason for this nor should there be one.
Now that I’ve released the tension here’s how I really felt about Picture Perfect. The story starts off great and immediately you’re connected to Cat through hearing about her accident. Every self conscious moment she suffers is one many women can relate to at one time or another. I also give Cat a lot of credit because when she’s in a crisis she recognizes when she needs help and she goes to get it. Though, I’ll admit I was a bit shocked by her decision to pose nude considering how negatively she felt about her body. Over time she begins to grow into herself and like she says, there really is a her-before and a her-after the accident that are very different. (I wish we could get a glimpse of Cat before the accident. How would she reacted or what would she have said about someone her size when she was a two?)
I really do love Nate but sometimes Cat’s insecurities seemed overbearing. She puts up all these fronts and insists she has issues but she spends so much time focusing on them she forgets to see that when she just is, they don’t hold her back. She has no problem sleeping with Nate on their second date which was surprising for me. But I’ll admit the sex between these two, is hot, hot, hot!!
It seemed almost too perfect that the two shared a past together. One in which the tables were turned and yummy Nate was not so chiseled and perfect. Having them have shared their first kiss together was almost like reuniting with their lost loves.
I wanted to hate Nate when Cat finds the article he wrote but in some ways this was the most believable thing about the story. Often times overweight people can be the harshest critics, especially those who have worked hard to become healthy. Without even realizing it they demean those who haven’t tried and don’t even think about how hurtful their comments can be. Nate’s age at the time did not help and since he was bullied so bad as a young child it goes to reason that some of these stigmas would stick to him. It was sad what his words caused but I’m glad he was able to overcome this phase in his life and begin to realize that size/shape and looks just don’t matter. It gives hope that men like him really do exist. The perfect one’s who care about inner beauty and not so much outer beauty or at least what society deems beautiful.
There were a few grammar mistakes that as usual were slightly annoying but didn’t ruin a scene or overall story.
I enjoyed the climactic end. It worked with staying within the theme of the story. Although, I’ll admit, I see a lot more for Nate and Cat. Battling your weight is an everyday thing and a lifestyle choice. I’d almost love another story with these two when they decide to have a baby or some other event takes place where their body changes and they have to support one another.
Blurb: 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. 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. 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.