One thing that I hate doing is to judge a book by the characters in them or their actions. That’s usually up for individual perception and our outlook towards life. But as I finished reading One to watch by Kate Stayman-London, I couldn’t stop myself from starting a character ranting. The reason being that the book kind of falters because of its character creation and the basic story loopholes. So I thought it was safer to do a separate post, full-on with spoilers to vent out my frustrations about the book.
As I said in my review, the book has an amazing narration technique, It is fun, quick and moves through story developments amazingly but its the basic plot that infuriated me at the end. So naturally to explain that major story plots had to be taken out.
So only proceed further if you have read the book or you don’t mind the spoilers
So the basic plot of the book is about an obese person going into a reality show “Main Squeeze” which is our fictional version of the real-life show The “Bachelorette”. That is the only thing I understood from the book.
So the book opens to an obese girl and for the first few chapters, I could genuinely see and relate to her when she points out simple stuff like walking into a cramped restaurant and being conscious about the tiny space and having to swerve through without knocking over the tables. The judgemental look you get from everybody around when you order an extra serving of your favourite dessert. These were all quite understandable. I could also sympathize or feel relatable to the harsh online comments. But cut from that, the author tries to revolve everything around with being obese. I mean come on. When you are treating Obesity as a mass calamity how do you expect the readers to be sensitive about it? Obesity is not a disease and something that rules a person’s life. For God sake look around you. Except for the ones who are blessed with that superhuman metabolism, all of us are indeed obese. something that can be credited to our modern-day 24/7 lifestyle, chaining us to our devices. But the author simply drags it as if it is some kind of cancer. You can’t treat obesity in the same balance as somebody who faces racial injustice or economic injustice. Or if you do, you have to bring out more valid scenes.
Falling for an asshole of a guy and justifying that guy doesn’t want you because you are obese is the most absurd dilemma you can show. It is simply because the guy is an ass. If indeed you had to show that people especially your partner can be insensitive about your weight, you could have used million other ways to do so. Almost all other books do that so elegantly and powerfully.
The biggest issue I had is the fact, that the one who is crying unfair from the roof has practically everything. She is an influencer. One tweet or blog post, as in the case of our book makes storm and initiates a change. You have brands endorsing you and you cry why Chanel or Ralph Lauren isn’t providing free stuff to you? Oh, come on! Some actual plus-size people have to roam around in literal tents because no brand pays attention to their body type and these people get embarrassed when they can’t get their favourite dress in their sizes and have to satisfy themselves with stretchable pants and tops.
You cry all through the book that men are assholes and don’t want a plus-size partner. Well, then what exactly are you doing about that? Being an even bigger ass and playing with the hearts of genuinely nice people? The whole book shows how Bea is devastated because of Ray not reciprocating her love. First of all, you know that guy is committed to another person and still you knowingly pursue him, even going to the lengths of sleeping with him. Fine, the guy is an ass and a cheater but why do you have to facilitate that and then cry that the guy is an ass?
And then chapters down she is doing the same thing. You say you have feelings for Asher. You even meet his kids, know very well how he was hurt by his wife when she cheated. Despite all these, you dare to go and sleep with Luke and that too on public television and expect him to be saint about it? So isn’t that being an ass just like Ray
So when everything happens and Ray returns claiming his love and even justifying that he was scared for their friendship being sabotaged if going into as a couple, you think he is making up stuff. When you just broke somebody’s trust by sleeping with somebody else and claiming you did it because it was all part of a show or process?
When Bea shuns out each marriage proposal and preaches she can be happy on her, I could still see a point in there but not when she went back running into the arms of a person, who completely abandoned you.
That is the thing I couldn’t understand about Asher. This guy walks out because Bea had feelings for a guy who was committed but the whole sleeping with Luke isn’t much.
Asher was an ass when he walked out at a very important time. So for all the preaching, Bea runs back to a guy who abandoned her at a very crucial point. You made Ray a villain for the same reason
So if you don’t need a guy to complete you then why have your book, end with a happy proposal? you could have show BEA moving on to much bigger and better things?
All over the place
As I said, the book is not clear as to what message it wants to give out. Let’s just say it is trying to make the readers understand the plight of an obese person. Well, you can’t do that with a character who has everything. A character who is an influencer enough to spark a change. A literal TV star with all the brands, best of travel and crew, treating her like a princess. Just because you randomly showed a few mean comments doesn’t mean it defines the troubles an obese person goes through. Trust me even Dalai Lama or Mother Teressa would get mean and abusive comments on their social media. That’s how messed up the world is.
One of the books, The Shelf, did a better job in letting us know what bullying a person on basis of their body feels like and the book was not even about that.
Let’s say that obesity was just one aspect and it was more about finding love. Then again how the hell could you scream bloody murder when you are holding a knife in your hand, ready to stab?
I simply couldn’t understand how the author could preach about being faithful and genuine when your central character is sleeping around with other guys like a test patch. The whole scene where she is preaching how nobody worshipped her as Luke did and how Ray was indifferent, I couldn’t believe the hypocrisy. She was cheating on a guy, Asher, who had feeling for her and she was playing the victim saying nobody would even kiss her? Seriously?
The book is filled with contradictions and it just boiled my blood as to how you couldn’t have clarity about what exactly you want to convey to your readers?