Thursday, May 7, 2015

Review: Navel Gazing by Anne H. Putnam

Book info:

  • Title: Navel Gazing
  • Author: Anne H. Putnam
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Country published: London, UK
  • Release Date: January 3, 2013
  • Price (Ringgit Malaysia): N/A (I bought it for RM8 at BigBadWolf 2014)
  • Pages: 320
  • Format: Paperback
  • Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir


"Almost every woman worries about her weight. For Anne H Putnam, it became unavoidable - by the age of seventeen she weighed over twenty stone and had tried everything, from dieting to fat camp to wearing big t-shirts. When she decided to have Gastric Bypass surgery, she thought everything would change. But now, nine years later and ten sizes smaller, she has discovered that changing your body doesn't automatically change how you feel about it. Navel Gazing is a funny, passionate and no-holds-barred memoir of one woman's quest to accept her own body image - to feel normal. It will make you laugh, cry, cringe - and wonder why it's so hard for women to feel happy with the way they look."


Being a non-fiction and a memoir, Anne herself as well as the people around her are the characters. Anne has pour her heart and soul into this book, letting readers sink into her shoes quickly and dive deeper into what it feels to be her. She described every detail of her feelings as well as her views of the people around her during her struggle.

Language and literacy:

Well written English, no problems here.

Mature content:

Considering the Gastric Bypass explanation it can be quite "graphic" for those who do not like to imagine being cut up and sewn back together. There are also talks about vomiting, pooping and a whole story about passing gas (a.k.a Farting). Curse words, typically. And also sexual scenes. Good thing I'm already 18 yeah?

My Story and Overall rating:

I stumbled upon this book when my friend (and somewhat mentor), Alex, posted a picture of it on her Instagram last year during the 2014 Big Bad Wolf book sale. The cover caught my eye, specifically the "One woman's quest for a size normal" quote. This book spoke to me and I had my man - my baemax - hunt it down for me while he was there. And he did. Sadly, it sat on my shelf for months due to me being in university. After coming back, I started to  go through my TBR (To-Be-Read) shelf very quickly and finished this book. It surprised me at first that it wasn't fiction. I winced when I read on the back cover that it was a memoir, thinking "great, another boring life story". But starting from the first page, it didn't had the monotonous style memoirs usually give out to me. In fact, it felt as if I was reading a fiction book. Most of all, I can relate to Anne's story emotionally it made me tear up (the last few chapters). As someone who is identified as the fatty, fatso, big-sized of the family and most friends, I can't avoid feeling extremely ugly and self-hating every time I pick up my spoon to eat and someone says "stuffing yourself up again?". I even have a nickname for it - hippo. Yes. I love food. I can't stand people who waste their food. I am the family food trash bin. It's something that I have been since I was a kid. I didn't realise how it would effect how my body and how people would perceive me for it. So self-loathing every time I put on clothes or see my nude self in the shower is inevitable; And Anne's story puts them into printed words.

She tells her readers her struggles as a child and teenager (pre-gastric bypass surgery) as well as herself growing up into adulthood (post GB surgery) gives us a peek into what it feels to be the fatty of the group and desperate one can go to get other people's approval. She also gives an inside scoop on how it feels to go through Gastric Bypass as well as plastic surgery in order to get a "small, normal body". It opens one's eyes to see that beauty is not only on the outside, but also on the inside. Her love story is inspiring and proves that there are people who will love you no matter what.

I extremely recommend this book to those who feel insecure of themselves and their bodies. This book will forever be in my book collection as a reminder that I am beautiful only if I love myself first.

Overall rating: 5/5

1 comment:

  1. This is such a thoughtful and wonderful review, Atika! Thank you so much! <3