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Viva Voluptuous Paperback – 25 Apr 2014
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Contemporary and real, Viva Voluptuous is a raucous and resonant insight in to life, right now. It felt intelligent and honest whilst still being a page-turner; a behind-the-scenes account of what it's like to be a woman caught in the chaos of work success, a challenging economy, modern relationships and the big one - self-image. You know this girl. Ellie Johnstone and Co are the type of friends you'd love to find yourself with. You'd cheer each other on, you'd sympathise, you'd laugh and you'd drink Pinot Grigio. The message is important still. What would it be like if we accepted ourselves, loved ourselves? Would that be OK? What would it mean for us? What would happen if we stopped all the bitching and criticism? What if we stopped the un-nourishing diets and the un-nourishing lifestyles? What if we focused on being the best versions of us and really started enjoying life? Viva Voluptuous explores the answers in a decadent and diary-esque way and I loved it. --Lyndsey Whiteside, Inspired PR.
About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer, editor and blogger who, frustrated with the lack of fiction featuring plus-sized women, decided to write her own. She lives in Bury St Edmunds, UK.
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But what is upsetting Ellie the most is that she is letting her body confidence be destroyed by this. Sure she's bigger than your average chick lit star, 3 times bigger. But she wants to be celebrating her curves not hating herself. She saw her best friend driven to suicide by the pressure to be physically perfect and she vowed she would stand loud and proud to honour her.
Ellie's determination is aided by her two best friends Zoe and Lauren. Fabulous gorgeous women who are also plus-sized and help her launch the Viva Voluptuous campaign designed to help improve body confidence for larger women.
And this is where the story gets really interesting. These three characters are so beautifully drawn and the situations they get themselves into so thoroughly believable that they feel like your best friends. They are real women. And I don't mean that they are 'real women' because they have curves, they're real women because they have personalities.
I'd love to see this book made into a movie, if it was it would definitely pass the Bechdel test. This is the method for measuring female visibility in a film and it involves conforming to the following three following scruples:
There have to be two named women
They have to engage in a conversation with each other.
That conversation has to be about something other than a man.
Not that men are ignored in this book, nor are they all villains. There are some really lovely male characters in here that you'd be happy to meet. And again they are very realistic, set free from the boring 'romantic hero' mould they get the chance to be real and very likeable human beings.
In fact it's even possible to have sympathy for the couple of them that do behave badly. But the men are not the be all and end all of the book, these girls have got other things on their minds too!
I have to admit I approached reading this book with a little trepidation. Chick lit isn't really my thing and as I 'know' the author through social media I was worried that if I hated it I'd have to hide from her online forevermore! Thank goodness that wasn't the case!
P.S This review appeared first on www.thebookeaters.co.uk :)
I hated finishing this book.
This semi-autobiographical book is so fun and positive that it seems a shame to have to return to the negativity of the real world.
Ellie's a plus-sized blogger but is feeling like a fraud because her curvy confidence is at an all-time low having just been dumped. Reading some nasty comments on a newspaper website gets her fired up to show the world that you don't have to be skinny to be happy. She and her friends devise a plan to change the world. Meanwhile, Ellie seeks solace in Jamie, a gorgeous younger man with commitment issues. The campaign sees the girls dealing with PR disasters, the disasters of dating sites, and flash mobs. Is it enough to change the world, and to give Ellie her confidence back?
The three main female characters are all so strong and feisty in their different ways (although they each have their own demons to deal with too) that it makes you stop and wonder why we're not ALL like that. And as for the kickass VV campaign, well I'm hoping to see the author develop this idea further in the real world. She's already started, you know (search for Gorgeously Full Fat on Facebook).
I really like the use of blog posts to fill out details of key moments, too. It works well, and reinforces the fact that the main character is a writer by profession, not just a world-changing heroine!
I'm sure I'm not going to be the only one who reads this book and finds themselves willing Ellie, Zoe and Lauren to succeed. Not just in their campaign, but in their personal lives too. And I'm not ashamed to admit I got a bit teary at the end of chapter 42.
If I had to pick one negative about the book it would be what, to me, feels like an overuse of pet names. (I don't use them myself, and find them slightly cringe worthy, if I'm honest.) In the book, everyone calls everyone else by a variety of pet names all the time. I know there are people out there who do that, but I'd have preferred to see it a little less frequently here. It felt particularly out of place when used by Paul, Ellie's platonic straight male friend. In my experience, straight men don't call people "sweetie". But, as I said at the top of this review, this book is semi-autobiographical, so if the real "Paul" does talk like that then fair enough!
Yes, the book is about being big, bold and beautiful, but I feel the themes of acceptance and trying to be happy with who you are despite all the social "rules" will appeal to everyone.
All in all, I really enjoyed Sarah Clark's book, and hope to see more from her in the future.
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