Rita Just Wants to be Thin by Mary W Walters
I stumbled upon this book at bookbub.com. It caught my eye obviously because of its title. Perhaps because I started off with hardly any expectations, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
(If you don’t know what bookbub.com is do go take a look. It’s a resource for ebooks, either at no cost at all or at a very minimal cost. If you’re a reader of light romantic fiction this is an absolute goldmine)
28-year-old Rita was young, pretty and thin before she got married. Marriage brought her a husband, Graham and two rather unpleasant step-children. She also has to contend with Graham’s dead and quite perfect first wife who she can never measure up to. Graham is a work-from-home journalist. He isn’t really a bad sort but is self-centred and inhumanly insensitive.
Overworked, undervalued, exhausted and lonely, Rita finds solace in food. As the pounds pile up she begins to hate the way she looks. She tries out new diets regularly but fails to stick to any of them, fuelling rounds of self-loathing and more bingeing.
Things come to a head when her mother-in-law comes to stay with her until finally one day she decides to walk out.
What I liked
Rita’s struggle with weight is something common to a lot of women — the constant awareness of one’s weight, the acute self-consciousness due to it, the self-loathing that comes after a binge and yet not being able to find the will-power to do anything about it — all of that made the book extremely relatable.
Later the rush Rita gets when she begins to walk, the way she learns to disengage herself from her situation and make time for herself – I loved all of that.
Also, her story isn’t just about her fight with fat. It is about how she learns to assert herself, how she decides that she will be the one in charge of her life. It is a reminder for anyone stuck in a rut that they alone can change their lives.
What I didn’t like
Rita’s struggle is so long that it gets tedious and depressing. The turnaround comes after a long long time.
The book ends right at the beginning of Rita’s new journey. I would have liked an epilogue, at least. I will always have the niggling feeling that she slipped back to her old ways and that takes away from the perfect ending.
Last thought: Some books aren’t great literature but you like them because you find you can connect with them. This was one of those for me.