Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins
Narrated by Xe Sands, Lori Gardner, Suzy Jackson
Women’s Fiction with a Little Romance. Standalone.
*While my reviews are spoiler-free if you don’t want to know more about the book, after the first 2 paragraphs skip down to likes and dislikes and the Down & Dirty review*
Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins is one of the most relatable books I have ever read. If I hadn’t read a few reviews from women who were triggered by the book (more on that later), I would say that I think every woman should read this book. But mostly, this is for the woman who hates herself. This is for the woman who has so many self-depreciating thoughts in her head she can’t make it stop. This is for the woman who fat-shames herself. This is for the woman who buys a brownie and says it’s for her son because she is embarrassed to eat it. This is for the woman who is always saying “I’ll do it when I lose the weight”. This is for anyone that has friends or family that struggle with weight.
Before I make this whole review about me, you can read my thoughts from 4 years ago. Sadly, they haven’t changed, but this book helped me on the path to acceptance. Read my post I HATE MY BODY on Starting On Monday. Let me make this clear. Good Luck With That is about three women who obsess about their weight in different ways. I get it. I totally relate. My weight is never not in the forefront of my mind, but it’s not enough to stop my eating.
Emerson, Marley, and Georgia became best friends in fat camp. They stayed friendly over the years, especially Marley and Georgia because they lived close together. They gradually lost touch with Emerson as she didn’t want them knowing how heavy she was getting. In fact, she got so heavy she could no longer leave her home or care for herself. Her weight was killing her and her organs were shutting down when her friends got the call to come and say goodbye. Their shock at seeing how big Emerson got did get kind of graphic, and while some may say it was fat shaming, Emerson was 600 pounds and DYING FROM IT. This scared the shit out of me, and you can bet I am back on Weight Watchers today!
“I really am sorry for being this way. I can’t even look in the mirror anymore. I hate myself. I hate my fatness. I hate being so weak.”
If you are 500+ pounds, you may be triggered and hurt by the descriptions, but that is kind of the point of this book. It’s BRUTALLY HONEST. She had a DEADLY ADDICTION. If you describe a crack addict as having no teeth, so skinny that bones were showing, stringy hair with bald patches, nobody would be screaming about it.
On her deathbed, Emerson gave Georgia and Marley a letter to be opened after her death. It contained the list they made in camp.
“Let’s make a list when we get back,” Emerson said. “All the things we’ll do when we’re not fat anymore. Things we can’t even dream of now.”
“We can dream,” Georgia said, pulling on the oars. The boat slid forward, and Marley trailed a hand in the water. “Nothing wrong with dreams.”
“A list sounds like fun,” Marley said. “It’ll motivate us to lose weight. We can call each other when we cross stuff off.”
The list included things like go running in tight clothes and a sports bra, get a piggyback from a guy, eat dessert in public, tuck in a shirt and shop at a store for regular people (I’m sure this triggered people, like we aren’t regular? But sadly we aren’t. We can’t shop in the mainstream stores.) They are silly things a kid would write, but things these women in their mid-thirties have yet to accomplish.
“Emerson had done us a favor with that list. She totally had. Kicking our asses from the great beyond, like any true friend.”
Readers were able to experience all three women’s POV (and the audio was done with three fabulous narrators). Throughout the book, we get Emerson’s sad story through her writing in a journal to “Other Emerson” — the person she would be if she were thin. I thought this was so heartbreaking, but I think it was REAL. I often imagine what I’d be like if I wasn’t fat.
“Other Emerson could be friends with someone like me—someone who gets stared at every time she leaves the house. Someone who’s judged and found disgusting every single day. Someone who weighs three times what she should. She would see the real me, not just the fat. She wouldn’t see the fat at all. She’d see the funny, kind, sweet person I know I am but no one else tries to see. My mom did, of course, but she’s gone now. Georgia and Marley, they do, too.”
Georgia was very relatable to me. Her mother is obsessed with her weight and is downright cruel about it, and her brother is the meanest asshole on the planet. (My family isn’t cruel, but they are obsessed about my weight.) Luckily her brother has a son, Mason, who Georgia is like a mother to. I LOVED Mason and his whole storyline. We can all learn from him. Georgia’s insecurities and self-loathing drove her away from her wonderful ex-husband, but she never fell out of love with him.
“I should’ve trusted him when he said he loved me. I should’ve heard that instead of the ugly echoes from my past.”
Marley is probably the most OK with her weight. She is a personal chef from a loving, Italian family, but she lost her twin at 4 years old and has been filling that void her whole life. Some of those scenes brought me to tears. She eats healthy and exercises, but she is just a big girl. She wants to be loved but sadly seems to get used for drunken sex instead, until she meets the right one. (I still think she settled. She deserved better).
The list helped them heal and accept themselves. I cried so much as they healed! Happy tears, emotional tears, and tears for myself. My goodness, I am SO HORRIBLE to myself! I related to every terrible self-depreciating thing these women said. The healing part of this book was just that—knowing there are other people who feel this, knowing I’m not alone with these morbid thoughts. This book was not politically correct, it was REAL. It was RELATABLE. At times it was a little dark and disturbing. Some things were hard to read, but they are nothing I haven’t thought myself.
Most books I read with plus-sized characters have the woman losing the weight to find happiness in the end or they are super-confident. Years ago, I read a book about a plus-sized woman who wore leather and sequins. She loved her curves. While I wish I could be like that, I never was. When I stated in my review that I couldn’t relate to the character, I was scolded by the author for not loving myself enough (funny, she has since lost about 150 pounds). In Good Luck With That, I enjoyed finally reading about women that get it. Women that understand people who judge our weight against others, that we hide and lie about food, that we don’t want to go to an event to be the fattest there, that we are uncomfortable walking into a regular sized store like they are going to kick us out, that we don’t want to eat dessert in public because of other’s judgement.
- I felt like the author was in my head. She said things I didn’t know other people felt.
- It was honest and real, not politically correct.
- The supportive friendship between the women. #Friendshipgoals
- I identified so much with all three women.
- The two romantic storylines. I liked having a little romance thrown in, but the love between friends and family was much more prominent.
- Mason. I love that boy!
- It was long and felt like an epic journey.
- It made me realize how horribly I speak to myself.
- I saw the Dr. today for a problem that has been worrying me for a long time because of this book.
- Pulled out every emotion, so much I had to pull over while driving because the tears were blinding me.
- Marley’s frustration with Will.
- The romance part was a little unsatisfying.
- Counseling needed to have a MUCH larger part in this book.
- Emerson was a little like a caricature of a fat girl, and I can see where some of the controversy comes from if you really pick it apart.
- There were lines that seem like generalizations of all fat people, but to me, it seemed like the character’s thoughts, not the author’s. I bring them up here because there are some people that were hurt by this. ie: “These were the things thin girls got to do, things that were out of reach for us fatties.”
I Loved that we had three narrators, one for each woman. The narration was fantastic. I loved Marley’s Italian family, but they always sounded a bit sad to me rather than the loud boisterous Italian family they’re described as, though she did the accent well. I still think the narration enhanced the story and I loved every second of it.
I posted in a group about how much I was LOVING Good Luck With That and how relatable the characters were. In response, someone posted a pretty scathing DNF review. I don’t normally read reviews before I write mine. At that time, I hadn’t even finished the book yet. But I stupidly clicked and read it. For a bit, it influenced my opinion. I was listening to the book after and seeing where people could be offended instead of relating to it. But that influence didn’t last long as I was won back over by this insightful story. Here’s the thing. If you are super sensitive, insulted or triggered by weight stuff, this book isn’t for you. If you are a woman who puts herself down and doesn’t live life to the fullest because of self-hatred and shame, this book will be right up your alley.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 5 for Narration
*I don’t remember there being any graphic sex scenes, but I’m not sure.
Purchase Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins