Ken Baker is an entertainment news and pop culture aficionado by day, but he has a not so secret night job- being an expert on women and girls. Open the first pages of Baker's novel, How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love, and you are instantly catapulted into the world of Emery Jackson, an overweight sixteen year old girl with a sense of humor, who is desperately searching for a place of her own in the world.
Emery describes herself as “invisible” to the outside world. She uses food as her vice, her punishment, and her comfort. How I Got Skinny chronicles Emery’s battle with food, her inner monologue, and with the outside world. When she succumbs to do a reality show to save her family, Emery learns more than she bargained for in a short fifty days, while getting healthy and realizing her dreams. Her journey to transformation can be described as witty, charming, and enthralling.
While everyone on the outside is preaching that Emery needs to find “freedom,” the definition of what it truly means to be “free” continually changes for her. Baker has completely gone into the mind of a young woman to craft this novel. Every self- defeating thought that has ever crossed a woman’s mind is weaved into this novel in some way. It shows our girls the impossible standards that are sometimes set in front of them. The book confronts many topics the modern young woman deals with like slut-shaming, society’s expectations. Ken may also know a thing or two about what the pressure of a Hollywood lifestyle can do to a person, as he has watched them for years.
The novel was hard to put down because of just how sucked in I got into Emery’s crazy world. I’m in awe that a man had the foresight to write this book; a book that clearly needs to be in the world today. The last lines of the book are perhaps my favorite, and sum up Emery’s story beautifully: “Eat when I’m hungry. Sleep when I’m tired. And in between, just enjoy the freedom of being alive.” How I got Skinny, is refreshing, whimsical, hilarious, and inspiring. Any woman can relate to this book, and every man should read it, if they want a little better understanding of women.