As a woman who has struggled with my weight for the past 10 years of my life, I found myself intrigued by the book synopsis for Jemima J: A Novel About Ugly Ducklings and Swans by Jane Green.
Jemima Jones is overweight. About one hundred pounds overweight. Treated like a maid by her thin and social-climbing roommates, and lorded over by the beautiful Geraldine (less talented but better paid) at the Kilburn Herald, Jemima finds that her only consolation is food. Add to this her passion for her charming, sexy, and unobtainable colleague Ben, and Jemima knows her life is in need of a serious change. When she meets Brad, an eligible California hunk, over the Internet, she has the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself–as JJ, the slim, beautiful, gym-obsessed glamour girl. But when her long-distance Romeo demands that they meet, she must conquer her food addiction to become the bone-thin model of her e-mails–no small feat.
With a fast-paced plot that never quits and a surprise ending no reader will see coming, Jemima J is the chronicle of one woman’s quest to become the woman she’s always wanted to be, learning along the way a host of lessons about attraction, addiction, the meaning of true love, and, ultimately, who she really is.
Whether a woman is underweight, at the “proper” weight or overweight…how many of us can say that we haven’t, at some point, obsessed over the numbers on the scale? How many of us had the “perfect” friend that we were jealous of or the gorgeous, dream guy who just saw us as a friend or worse, didn’t see us at all? It is because of these things and so much more, that makes Jemima Jones (aka Jemima J) so relatable to the reader. This book is all about her journey of self-discovery.
Having read and loved Jane Green’s Bookends, I was excited to read another one of her books. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. Jemima J is a likable character that I found myself not only relating to, but rooting for. Also the rest of Jemima’s “supporting cast” are exceptionally written. On the surface you want to dislike Geraldine, but yet there is something likeable there. As for Ben, you just want to yell at him to open up his eyes and see that Jemima is perfect for him! Not to mention the book moves at a good pace with a plot that kept me entertained throughout. Plus, there were some interesting and unexpected plot twists that I thoroughly enjoyed and definitely didn’t see coming. Having read a lot of books in my time, it’s not often that I can say that.
One of the things I liked best about this book is Jemima’s relationship with Brad. At different times I found it to be sweet, frustrating, heartbreaking and wonderful. When you meet these two characters, you can see that they are only “surface friends”. It is obvious that Ben only talks with Jemima because she hangs out with Geraldine. Then things slowly start to change, causing their relationship to take many twists and turns over the course of the book. I found their chemistry to be irresistible, which makes it hard not to want to see a happy ending for these two.
Altogether I would highly recommend Jemima J. If you’re looking for something light-hearted and romantic, this would be an excellent read. The only thing you might have to get past is some of the English slang. I found things like ‘bloody phone’ and ‘would anyone fancy a cup of tea?’ to be charming, but some might not. As far as I’m concerned this is the perfect type of book to lose yourself in. Plus, it’s what I like to call an ‘easy read’. So if you’re looking for a book that you can get lost in and just enjoy it for what it is…Jemima J is the perfect book for you.
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