Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Artichoke's Heart Review

It's so strange and exciting when I see books that I've only seen on blogs in person at the bookstore. It's kind of like seeing a celebrity up close and personal! Anyone else feel that way? I'm strange. But today at B&N I was like, there's Along For the Ride! Wait, there's How to Buy a Love for Reading! Oh hey, LA Candy.

It was like we were long lost friends.

Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee


Rosemary Goode knows she's overweight but everyone else insists on telling her. Her mom buys a treadmill for Christmas. Her aunt always has a disparaging remark. The popular girls at school tease her and that's been going on since middle school when she wore a green puffy jacket to school and they dubbed her "Artichoke." Rosemary finds comfort in the junk food she has stashed in her room. The new year brings new challenges for Rosemary and as she commits herself to losing the weight Rosemary finds her life changing in more ways than one.

Rosemary was a character that I could really root for. She was obviously smart and talented, yet insecure. Even through her insecurity she had some fresh and funny moments when she would use her wit to fight back at those who were trying to bring her down. I appreciated this. Rosemary wasn't simply an apologetic fat girl. She had a spark and ultimately, that's what helps her begin her journey to lose weight.

What really worked for this book was the southern setting and the realization of all the people and places that made up Rosie's world. I could really feel Tennessee shining through the pages. I loved how I got to read about the change in seasons. The weather provided a backdrop that helped illustrate Rosie's emotions. The dialect in the dialogue was never fake or forced. Everyone sounded different yet still retained that southern accent. I really admired that. Personalities were highlighted by the dialogue. It helped keep the novel moving and also provided a lot of humor.

What didn't work so well for this book was that there was a lot happening at once. That is true in life but I wasn't sure I liked how it all came together. The one plot element I could have done without is the fact that Rosie enters a research study to see how short-term counseling affects weight-loss. I just wasn't impressed by that arc, especially since it seemed to get lost in the middle of the book. Other more significant things happens which are very intriguing and could have made a book in themselves. The most important part is that the characters stayed consistent, there weren't a lot of them and they were engaging. The characters will keep you reading even if the plot seems to be a bit busy.

Also, the tense in this story was weird. About halfway through I had to go back and see if it switched from present to past tense. Actually, there's both, making the book read like it's told from some very recent future. To me it was written as if the current chapter happened to the narrator last week or two hours ago. I found it jarring in some places and some places everything matched up and read smoothly so I could let that go.

This is a quiet, unassuming book with a bright brown and pink candy cover that attracted me to it immediately. I believe Rosemary is a character you should read about. She can really speak to you about growing up, body images, mother-daughter relationships and first love. There are a lot of good elements to this book and most of all I did enjoy reading it and it's a quick read that's not entirely fluffy but it's also never becomes totally depressing. It was a wonderful in-between book for me to enjoy when I needed a break from the really dark stuff. So add it to your To-Be-Read pile and give it a try. Save it for a cozy rainy day when you want to curl up with a good book you can lose yourself in for a couple of hours with no worries.


  1. i read this book in 1 and 1/8 day <3ed reccoment to anyone!!!!

  2. I loved this book! Its like a must read!:)

  3. i love this's so funny and real.

  4. This book was amazing i just finished reading it! This is definitely a must read!!!!!!!!!