Title: Eat, and Love Yourself
Author: Sweeney Boo, Lilian Klepakowsky
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Synopsis: A story about Mindy, a woman living with an eating disorder who has to learn how to love herself again.
In pursuit of the perfect body, Mindy buys the low-fat diet products and the glossy magazines which promise the secret to losing weight. One night, while perusing the aisles of the neighborhood convenience store for a midnight snack, she finds a new product. A chocolate bar called “Eat and Love Yourself”. On a whim, Mindy buys the curious candy, not knowing that with every piece of chocolate she eats, she will be brought back to a specific moment of her past — helping her to look at herself honestly, learn to love her body the way it is, and accepting love. Perhaps, she will even realize that her long lost high school best friend, Elliot, was more than just a friend…
Review: This book really resonated with me when I read it last month. I have always been the “chubby” girl, the “big” girl, the “plus-sized” girl, the “fun-sized” girl. So seeing something that hits this close to home being talked about and represented in a graphic novel? Words cannot describe how that felt. But here I am, trying to find those words, anyway. So bear with me, we’ll get through this together!
First, let’s talk about the artistry! You can tell just from the cover that the artists’ style is just beautiful. I loved how the main character was drawn throughout the book. There were moments when you were seeing her as a third party, and there were moments when you would see her as she views herself from an outside perspective, and there were moments when you see how she views herself inside her body. While the drawing of Mindy didn’t change for any of these perspectives, you were still able to see the emotions and the differences in how her body is perceived, which I thought was a really powerful moment. Frequently, we get wrapped up in how we see ourselves, that we forget that most people won’t notice the dimples in our knees, or that extra roll at our backs. So having Mindy be able to see herself from that outside perspective was really interesting.
Next, I do want to talk about a trigger warning in this book: eating disorders. Please note that since this is a big theme in the story, this will be mentioned for the rest of the review as well. While this isn’t a trigger for me, I know that it is for a lot of people. Mindy deals with binging and purging and the book does not shy away from it. On the one hand, I’m very glad that they highlighted this, because without it, I don’t think that the story would have been as powerful, however, it is very detailed, and I know some readers will not be able to handle it.
The story of Mindy has her finding a magic chocolate bar, which transports her to many of her memories that shaped her eating disorder, and how she came to perform many of her habitual actions. Again, while I have never had an ED, I do very much understand Mindy hoarding her food/sweets. This was probably the section of the book that resonated with me the most.
The reason that I only gave this book 4 stars as opposed to 5 is that I thought that it felt rushed. Especially the portions of the book that were her memories. I think that the transitions between the present and the past weren’t super clear and that it all went by really quickly. I would have loved for another couple dozen pages to let the story grow a little more organically, rather than being moved along at a breakneck pace.
Overall, this story was fantastic. I thought that the story was relatable to many different people, and helps to bring others into a conversation about weight, loving yourself, and eating disorders. I think that this book can serve as an example to help others see what people who have been made to hate their bodies go through, and can help to bring those closer to a state of body neutrality, if not body love and posititivity.
What did you think of Eat, and Love Yourself?