Reading this, I found an ordinary woman, with the same concerns I had growing up – “I hate my body”, “I am not good enough”, “I can’t do that”. These are her thoughts, these are all our thoughts, always. I found that sad, because, with every struggle, with every lesson, Amanda Prowse proves she is not only good enough, she is great.
She goes through so much as a child and as a young adult and handles everything with maturity. She has some rebellious years – don’t we all? – and grows out of them with lessons learned. Her life seems to come together when she marries and has a child, but it soon falls apart again. Of course, she fulfills her dream of becoming a writer, we know that, but what of everything else?
At the height of her career, all she thinks about is that she is getting old and that she hates her looks…and that hit me hard. As a person who always struggled with her weight, I completely understood her and it made me sad for her, for me, for all women like us.
Amanda Prowse is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today. She has written more than 30 books and her stories are emotional and talk about women like us all the time. In her new book, “Women Like Us” she uses her own life and her own dramas to create a beautiful and inspiring confession.
I read it kind of slow. A few pages throughout each the day of an entire week. It gave me time to think about it a lot and the deep insight into her struggles felt like hearing a friend talk. It was honest, real and intimate. Perhaps too honest (is there such a thing?). There will be people who will say there are details she could have kept for herself, but the courage it took to talk about everything was immense. I can’t even imagine it! So… yes, I’m glad she talked about it all.
I didn’t know anything about her starting the book, I just read it because the title drew me in. I had no idea she was already a public figure (and yes, I’m aware it says so in the title, I just hadn’t noticed!) so I’m talking about her writing based on this book alone (at least for now, because I’m definitely picking up one of her books this year!).
What I didn’t like about the book isn’t much. It is, however, worth mentioning that, though I loved the photos, some are inserted pretty badly. For example she starts to tell of a potential love problem with a boyfriend, which of course, picks your curiosity, makes you wonder – will she stay with this guy or not? And then, bam! You have a photo of them at their wedding or something and the tension is gone. From time to time, she will even give some spoilers herself. Even though this is an autobiography, it could have used a bit more suspense. Not much, but, when it’s there, why ruin it?
Other times she will not explain how she got to a situation, skips over too many important details – and that didn’t happen a lot, but I would be giving spoilers if I say more (and I clearly love suspense).
She also emphasizes her struggles a lot, not sufficiently giving credit to herself for all the other jobs she did well. She tried so many things and was a hard worker every time! I constantly felt the need to encourage her – she was actually doing great.
However, I actually thought the book was a bit too long, with some ideas getting repeated or getting to be too elaborated when the point was already across.
When she gets to the part about writing, though, everything is just stellar! She remains as humble, but you see the passion and how proud she is of what she’s accomplished and it infused me with enthusiasm. Passionate people inspire me so much! I would have loved to see this kind of enthusiasm throughout the book even more, but I guess the contrast of her attitude towards writing as opposed to any other thing she did wouldn’t have been that powerful.
You might imagine the story ends here. I did. I thought it was a book about becoming a writer. It was not. It was about loosing weight and, more importantly, feeling good with yourself, which, in the end, is the most important message of all.
Amanda Prowse struggled with various illness throughout her life, but her obsession was always being thin. Sounds familiar? It does, to me. She goes into so much detail with her lowest points, I felt immersed in her story.
I liked her confessing about eating patterns, eating binges, lying about it to her family. These things are so, so real! But she started talking about how the conversation should be around fat and it was clear to me she doesn’t know exactly what would have really worked for her sooner. What would have stopped her getting overweight to the point of becoming a medical issue? It clearly made her uncomfortable being called fat (who wouldn’t be?) but she maintains that no one told her she was getting into problems while accumulating the weight.
It is easy to talk about what should have been done after the fact, but the reality is that no amount of discussion from her friends and family would have stopped the process because she was already aware of it. She was lying to herself that it was not that bad. And at some point it really wasn’t. Until it was.
Loosing weight is a difficult process which begins in the mind, in understanding why and how we eat, how we think about food and more importantly, how we think about ourselves. Are we happy in our bodies? In how it feels? Do we treat our bodies with love and kindness? This is such a big part of the message of this book and I absolutely loved it!
Another thing I loved were the photos around this topic. They make you think the author is a dear friend who shares her journal with you. It feels like a journal, a confession, things you wouldn’t normally know about a person. Her story doesn’t stop with the book, she will continue to write more and more books, but I’m glad she took the time to write this, because it is reassuring to see how people who appear to have it all figured out, have their own battles still ongoing.
And that is how I want to end this. If you want to know the story of a woman who’s struggled with illnesses a lot and kept going, a woman who found her path to success later in life, a woman like us, read Amanda Prowse’s novel “Women Like Us”! You won’t regret it!
If you struggle with weight yourself, you’ll find her message uplifting and inspiring. It will help you feel you are not alone and maybe motivate you to take action.
P.S. Thank you NetGalley for the copy in exchange for a fair review!
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