Title: Pear Shaped
Author: Stella Newman
Release Date: September 26
Source: Bookuture on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
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Buy this book at: Book Depository
Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl loses mind.
Sophie Klein walks into a bar one Friday night and her life changes. She meets James Stephens: charismatic, elusive, and with a hosiery model ex who casts a long, thin shadow over their burgeoning relationship. He’s clever, funny and shares her greatest pleasure in life – to eat and drink slightly too much and then have a little lie down. Sophie’s instinct tells her James is too good to be true – and he is. (Source: Goodreads)
Sophie Klein loves food. Sophie Klein also loves James, the totally wrong guy for her. Sophie Klein can give up neither food nor James, even though James wants her to give up food. Finally, Sophie Klein makes the right choice and lives her life.
To be completely honest, Sophie Klein kind of enraged me. This book starts out sweet, goes completely sour for ages, and then ends on the sweetest note it makes you smile and wish for late. Unfortunately, all the sugar in the world couldn’t fix the huge dose of sour forced on your for about two thirds of the book. Reading this book made me miserable, irritable, body conscious, and angry. By the end of the book, I was nearly willing to forgive Newman for making me so miserable, but it was too little too late for me.
Let’s start off with Sophie. Sophie is really very sweet. She has good friends, an awesome gran (actually, the kind of gran you wish you had), and an amazing job. Sophie’s love for food made me hungry and happy. Her eating habits made me so envious, she eats some of the most amazing sounding foods around. The fact that Newman made me drool a little every few pages is a testament to her writing skill, she’s quite a good writer. I loved Sophie, and everything Sophie loved, except for James.
I didn’t buy into James as a person at all. He was the kind of guy that I found repulsive right off the bat. He’s the kind of guy you avoid at all costs, in any situation. You mock guys like James for their absolutely ridiculous sense of self importance. James was foul, rude, with a terrible personality, and a pompous air. James made me miserable, and he made Sophie miserable. But Sophie was too stupid to leave him. Honestly, just plain stupid even though she knows he’s awful. James is the reason two thirds of this book suck. He is absolutely foul and when he finally leaves Sophie you just don’t care anymore.
Everything after Sophie gets over James: Fantastic. Everything else: Infuriatingly bad. The writing, as I’ve noted, is good. The food is described in such drool worthy quality I wanted to reach into the book and grab brownies and custards and cakes from Sophie. The emotion is there and is good. There are lots of witty jokes, and cute moments scattered throughout the book. The ending of the book is fantastically written as well (No spoilers, I promise!). Honestly, Newman is a good writer. Her plot was just…infuriating. When it got to the end I felt like I was finally being rewarded for the effort I had to make in reading the book.
The book is broken down into three parts, which I thought was great. The parts have title pages with definitions of the words that accompany each section: “Parfait,” “Crumble,” and “Icing.” These divisions are great, they make a lot of sense paired with the content. They also have some apt definitions. I thought this worked well with the book. Unfortunately, the best section (you guessed it, “Icing”) is the shortest section of the book.
Some additional notes, there is a lot of focus on body size in this book. As I’ve mentioned I felt a little body conscious when reading this book. The way James treats Sophie really carries over to the reader and makes you feel uncomfortable. You feel bad about your own body almost constantly when James in present. Skinny or curvy, he’s just foul and makes you feel terrible. I don’t think this book has the “feel good” views on body image that many similar books do.
Overall, I liked this book. It was a good idea, it was well written, and it had some sweet and enjoyable moments. As I’ve said already, however, these were too little and too late. I recommend this book, somewhat hesitantly, because I found the ending enjoyable, but the overall experience painful. It was a hard journey to go on, maybe that parallels Sophie’s journey somewhat, but it felt sort of rewarding in the end.