I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of this one. I think I kind of knew I might not like it based on the cover alone. The guy on the front cover is all perfect abs and muscles but the blurb clearly states this book is supposed to be about someone battling with body issues and meeting someone who doesn’t seem to suffer from any of the societal norms of that. This balance of cover and blurb seemed contradictory.
Then it seemed not deep enough for me. The struggle with Ollie and his weight didn’t seem heavy enough. It didn’t define his every moment to the point he suffered from it with some a measure of intense anxiety and self-worth issues. Intense enough that it affected the way he lives and hinders his quality of life. It was hard to get on board with his issues, especially being someone who suffers from anxiety and is presently anxious about the fact I don’t exercise now and I used to every day and how depression and self-worth play into that. I couldn’t attach to this.
A lot of that had to do with Jeremy. He was so overtly into Ollie that you’d have to be blind to not notice he didn’t care about what Ollie looked like. In order to sell the struggle when such obvious desire was being shown, Ollie’s situation had to be much more intense since there was no real pressure, actually non, from the love interest for him to be anything other than what he was. He even buys him a jockstrap which definitely shows he wants to see all of Ollie in the exact form he presently has. With so little tension around the negativity of body image and, to be fair rather nice positive energy which I am all here for, it just kept getting harder and harder to believe Ollie was actually struggling with it. Again the book would have definitely had to go a lot harder to sell it and I got the impression the author didn’t want to go that heavy. In which case choosing another focal point of tension may have served the book better.
I liked Jeremy. A lot for the portion I did read. He was just fun fun fun. But, rehashing again, for me to be sold on him bringing Ollie into his own and embracing himself Ollie’s end needed to be significantly more psychologically intense for me to buy into this as a plot.
Also the side plot. Big sigh. Ollie’s best friend who is also fun is clearly doing things without his boyfriend’s consent which leads to him contracting something. My problem here is that in the third of the book I read, this also isn’t dug into. It’s almost like a ‘you did this, you get punished now deal with it situation’ but the story must go on. There are a million and one ways a relationship can fall out without this specific thing happening. And, judging by how the story is written, none of them would’ve been dealt with if they had happened because this story is very clearly about Jermey and Ollie. So why bother to tackle yet another very serious issue if it’s not going to get the page time to be dealt with? A simpler form of relationship doom would’ve sufficed seeing as it appeared to be just a side thing happening off-page the two maybe three times it popped up during the one third I did read.
And I guess gyms be super big cause the moment I realised the two went to the same gym and they both checked out the same trainer I was sure one of them would recognise the other. Surely they had passed even if walking to the next machine. But then again depending on what time they go to the gym, this is highly plausible so it’s a non-issue it was just something that popped into my head.
I guess lastly is I don’t remember any women. Do people not have sisters, brothers who are straight who have girlfriends or wives or daughters, even blended and non-conventional families have daughters, female coffee baristas and cashiers and, I don’t know. It’s like impossible to not interact with women. One of them birthed me after all. It’s extra strange for me to be stuck in worlds like this because this is not what my life looks like. Just watching ads on youtube will bring all sorts of different humans into my view. Ads in general really no matter where they are. I guess I’m so over-saturated with humans from all walks of life I can’t connect with worlds that don’t have them in them. That aside if I’m way wrong here I’ll own that. But I honestly don’t remember any in the portion I read.
All in all the premise is good. The idea of becoming acceptant of one’s own body through the love of another is something I am here for. But it wasn’t executed the way I expected. From the cover not screaming the main character has body image issues, to the character themselves not seeming to struggle with it as opposed to just being uncomfortable and surface-level not liking themselves, to side plots that are more like conversation pieces instead of the heavy material they represent which needed more fleshed out plot and page time. All of this stuff together just made it hard to connect to this story which sucks because Jeremy was by far the best thing in this story and I wanted to see more of him. This book just didn’t read as deep as I expected but as I said the cover had me questioning how this would pan out and it, sadly, didn’t go as I hoped.