My Pear – Shaped Life by Carmel Harrington
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publishing Date: 16th April 2020
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 384
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
| Paperback (out on 07.01.2021)
This is a joyful, uplifting book for those of us who sometimes wake up and feel we’re not good enough. Spoiler alert: we are!
She’s hiding so much behind her big smile she’s forgotten who she is.
But Greta is about to discover that the key to being happy is…being you.
Greta Gale has played the part of the funny fat one her entire life, hiding her insecurities behind a big smile. But size doesn’t matter when you can laugh at yourself, right?
Until Greta realises she’s the only one not laughing. And deep down, she’s not sure if she’ll ever laugh again.
But with her world feeling like it’s falling down around her, Greta is about to discover she’s stronger than she feels. And that sometimes the best moments in life come when it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped…
Greta Gale is an inspiring actress. She’s a bit overweight, is funny and is always laughing, even at herself. What people don’t know is that Greta is hiding a lot, is dying inside and is addicted to sleeping pills. The sleeping pills are really a problem, though Greta doesn’t want to see it, that is, until one day her life truly spirals out of control and her family forces her to go to rehab centre. Being there, she has time to reflect on her life. Her beloved Uncle Ray surprises her with a road – trip to Las Vegas to meet Greta’s greatest inspiration, her namesake Greta Gale. With Ray, Greta’s family and her friend Dylan’s support nothing can go wrong now, right?
This book touches upon such important issues like accepting yourself, drug addiction, family dynamics and all the ups and downs of life, showing how important the support of family and friends is and that the pear – shaped moments in life can make us stronger!
I loved being able to accompany Greta on her journey to accepting herself, to cheer her on this bumpy, twisty and hard road to happiness – without a guarantee that she’s going to find her happy end. Her character shows perfectly clearly that it is not losing weight or finding the perfect job or partner that changes our lives for better, that it is in fact the self – acceptation and the other things are just nice extras. However, I couldn’t completely warm to Greta but it’s probably my own problem – I, like many, many other women out there don’t like my body, don’t treat it with the due respect, so am like Greta in this matter but I also don’t look at things in such a narrow way like she did. I mean, I am a woman, I look like I look and I don’t spend sleepless nights thinking about it, and in my opinion she shouldn’t as well, she should have realise earlier that she’s worth so much even if she doesn’t look like a sex – goddess. I’ve learnt that it’s not looks that make you special and I think it is because of this fact, that I’ve matured in that matter, that I simply can’t find patience and accept such excuses. But Greta is also me and you: open, friendly and happy with life on the outside and uncertain and full of doubts inside, beating herself up, thinking she’s not good enough – sounds familiar, no?
Somehow, for me, “My Pear – Shaped Life” didn’t feel like a book and as much as I appreciated it, and the super important message the author has managed to smuggle in her wise words, I had a feeling I am floating on the surface, that I can’t reach into the depth, and the whole story seemed unstructured and it dragged a bit sometimes, and the change between the first and second part of the book was so sudden, it truly felt like reading a different story. I am sure that many other readers will find it inspiring, and I am incredibly sad that it didn’t work for me, but I still love Carmel Harrington and her books, no worries 🙂
Nevertheless, it is a book that will make you think when you’re reading it, the whole time. You will reflect on your own body image and start to think and see yourself differently. But the story is so relatable in so many ways, and even if you don’t struggle with your image, you will find things you can relate to, with life knocking you sideways.
It is warm and easily written, the story – telling is flowing, with colourful and vivid descriptions, it feels unique and fresh. Sometimes it’s very poignant and heart – breaking, sometimes it’s light – hearted and funny but on top of this it is important, wise and full of compassion. It shows the importance of loving and accepting yourself, of having support, and it feels very real.
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