After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.
He joins a gym.
Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.
As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamours Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.
Reed just has to convince Henry that life isn’t about reaching your ideal bodyweight. It’s about finding your perfect counterweight.
(Book reviewed here previously)
I have very mixed feelings about this book. I almost didn’t read it. I am very leery of books that make popular “make overs”. Every 1980s movie where the geek/nerd/fatty turns it around and finds love sets my nerve endings on overdrive.
I never thought Henry was invested in his own fitness as anything other than a way to get back at Graham until halfway. This bothered me a lot. I wasn’t convinced that he “wanted” his makeover, more that he felt he had to, or be alone. That’s a terrible feeling. It supports society’s belief that how we look is something we should be punished for and Henry was “punishing” himself for how he looked. Books like this remind us all that happiness is just one more diet and exercise program away.
Reed was wonderful and I approved of his methods for the most part, but I also felt like he never talked with Henry about what he wanted for himself and just bulldozed him/bullied him into training for the Bay Run. Sure, Henry kept coming in – and ultimately that was the proof that Henry wanted it – but I really wanted him and Reed to have a serious discussion about Henry’s goals and motivations. I wanted Henry to want this for himself and not for anyone else.
Joel Leslie, as always makes this such a more personal experience by really drawing the listener into the drama. Because this is a funny book it’s vital to have precise timing as well as all those character voices. Joel is more than up to the task – he excels at that.
Listening made this a better experience for me, so I give the audiobook a 4 of 5 stars!
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review