Holding Out for a Zero-Heather Wardell

(Reviewed by Ishita RC)


“I’m doing the right thing, not feeding myself. It’s the only thing I can do, so I will do it. Gloria can somehow have the energy I don’t take in, and it will help her stay alive.”

Twenty years ago, 14-year old Valerie  was in a hurry to get ready for lunch, thinking about her boyfriend, and her little brother choked to death on his third birthday on a packet of balloons she didn’t put away. Her lack of control prompted her to take a vow of never feeling helpless again.

Years later, when her sister Gloria is found comatose after a random assault, Valerie finds herself losing all that precious control she worked to attain. But as a financial controller for a ‘nothing bigger than a size six’ fashion designer, she is struggling to find ways to save her only remaining sibling. Since Gloria wanted to be a size zero, Valerie decides to eat less. But can eating less which turns into a frantic starvation, help her in saving her sister’s life?

First of all I would like to thank Heather for sending in this ARC for an honest review. I took my time, but it was all worth it.

Being familiar with the style of writing, I was really glad to see her effortless way of narrating a story based on a concept that is quite a part and parcel of our society. The beautiful way in which the author has captured the essence of eating disorders and the struggles that are often seen and endured is something that will be appreciated by all those women who have often been faced with the remark, ‘you are not good enough’ just because of size. The characterisation of Valerie with compulsions and acute neurosis will definitely strike a chord; you will hate her for her shallow self-image, but she will persevere to make a place in your heart.

I loved the title for how aptly it describes the main plot and idea of a size zero. But I felt the cover fell short in reaching the same impact.

I loved the book mainly because of the concept of eating disorders and the way the plot and the idea gives a more depth to the character of Valerie.

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