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Mirror Mirror Off the Wall -- how I learned to love my body by not looking at it for a year
By Kjerstin Gruys
Published: May 2013
Summary: A "choice feminist," and recovering anorexic, fed up with pre-wedding jitters and expectations, decides to abstain from mirrors and other reflective surfaces for a year.
Review: This is a feel good book. And the only reason I didn't run straight to my laptop and look up her blog, under the same title, was because I read it on an airplane.
The hero of the story is intelligent, has complex and interesting life experiences, and is always learning, researching, listing, planning, and analyzing. She admits her flaws and never sounds like she's wallowing in self-pity. When she breaks down, she feels it, calms down, finds the beauty in it, and blogs about it.
Kjerstin learns a lot about herself during this year (each month has its own chapter, for the most part), and I really felt good about myself -- inspired and encouraged in learning from, and adopting, some of her epiphanies into my own life. It's definitely a book I'd love my teenaged daughter to read, if only so she can see what a healthy body image requires.
The author mixes in some of her research on gender equality and feminism, but not in a heavy-handed way. More in a quirky "I didn't know that!" way.
This was a GREAT memoir because: it took me to a world I'd never been before (fashion, bridal consumerism, eating disorder recovery, and living a year with no mirrors); it was told in an engaging writing style that kept me turning the pages; that I identified with the protagonist (5'5", 155 pounds, a blogger/writer, a compulsive list-maker, "I am alternatively a student and a teacher, a reader and a writer, a glamazon bombshell, and a no-makeup-Mondays all-natural kinda gal."); and that she had some epic epiphanies that I won't spoil for you. Plus, I learned something new, and it was coupled with the inspiration to "try it on my own."
Also, I loved her focus on one healthy habit a week, rather than trying to eliminate a "bad" thing. I think focusing on drinking more bottles of water for a week will be easier to succeed at then eliminating the chocolate I eat every night.
4 out of 5 stars.
I recommend this book to others.