Shrink to Fit by Dona Sarkar (August 2008, Kimani TRU, ISBN: 0373830955)
Love and Basketball
Leah Mandeville poised her arms above her head, the ball weighing heavily in her sweaty palms.
Review: Shrink to Fit is the story of Leah Mandeville, a basketball star with everything going for her until she perceives herself to be too fat. Her mum is a former (and occasionally current) model who begins to pressure Leah to lose some weight so that they can be in a mother and daughter photo-shoot for Jade magazine along with celebrities like Demi and Tallulah Moore. In addition, Leah fancies her best friend Jay but he doesn't seem to feel the same way and seems to be attracted to skinny cheerleaders.
So Leah loses 10lbs and though she is complimented she still doesn't fit into the same clothes as her friend Shazan, so Shazan offers her diet pills. So begins Leah's descent in weight and in health until a tragedy makes her consider her actions and if what she's been doing is good for her.
Shrink to Fit is a quick read and as the chapters progress they begin with Leah's weight in lbs. A nice touch - as Leah is a film fan - is that the chapters have movie titles. Leah is a likeable character and this is a straightforward tale of what happens to her body and mind when she doesn't eat. Leah's family and friends fail her in different ways; her mum is a particularly unsympathetic character even when she reveals that she has suffered in the past. This is a cautionary tale equally relevant to teenagers, and their parents.
(Though the book is listed as having 250 pages, the last 45 or so are an excerpt from How to Salsa in a Sari.)
Shrink to Fit is published by the Kimani TRU imprint: "Groundbreaking young-adult fiction, Kimani TRU focuses on the triumphs and obstacles of today's African-American youth with wit and realism!".
The Times recently ran an interesting article on rise of the "plus-size" model ie size 14 and up.