Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins

My take:

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for granting my request to read Good Luck With That.

I’ve dealt with weight issues most of my life. More like body image issues when I come to think of it. Having grown up in the sixties and seventies I wished I could look like the girls on tv sitcoms (Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, etc). Those girls were slim and had long straight center-parted hair and I was average shape with dark naturally curly hair that had a mind of its own. I remember the day the female freshman PE teacher weighed us and measured our height. I was 5’6 and weighed 120 lbs. I felt huge – so much taller and bigger than my classmates. Talk about poor self-image, huh? So that’s what I brought with me when I read Good Luck With That.

Kristan Higgins is on my trusted favorite authors list – meaning I’ll read whatever she writes. But this one was a tough read for me. It hit so close to home on a few levels. Not exactly though – because my mother wasn’t as purposely (cluelessly?) hurtful as Georgia’s. No, my mom was well-meaning and thought she offered positive encouragement. Sigh.

So this novel is about three friends who met at a camp for overweight teenage girls. They formed a bond that carried over into adulthood. As often happens after college they met less often and kind of lost track of one friend, Emerson, because she lived hours away. Sadly, their last time to meet is when she’s dying.

After Emerson’s funeral Marley and Georgia open an envelope containing the list they compiled at camp when they were seventeen. It’s a list of things they’ll do when they are skinny. Emerson has requested they do the things on the list and that leads them to examining their relationship with food, men, family, etc.

Good Luck With That is written in Higgins’ usual warm, emotional style. Her characters’ families drew laughs and winces from me. I loved seeing Georgia and Marley take more control of their issues and discover how empowering that control can be. Filled with (mostly) delightful and endearing secondary characters I have to say this novel grew on me. What started as a book I had to put down a few times in the beginning due to certain scenes and topics, I finished the second half in a few hours. I’m glad I had the chance to read it. I think it would be a good selection for book groups – there’s a reader’s guide at the end.


 

17 thoughts on “Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins

  1. I just read another review that said how difficult it is to read in spots but I am betting really important. Wow I’d love to have been 5’6 and 120lbs, but I think your point is that you were at that stage in your life bigger than your classmates. I had weight and body image shame too growing up, I guess what girl gets away with it. Not many in the past anyway. I am looking forward to reading it and seeing how I cope/feel while reading.

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  2. Wow…it sounds as though I was a tough one for you! I am sorry about that. High school is such a tough time! I was always the shortest one and had to be in the front of lines for everything!

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    • I know, I wasn’t big but tell that to the 13 year old me 🙂 I remember Twiggy and thinking that was just a silly, unattainable goal. It’s a good read, for sure.

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  3. Mary, I, too, grew up at about the same time as you. And I remember the skinny images (like starving people) that were part of our lives. I think sometimes people think that the magazine and TV/movie influence only started in the last few years. Nope. Not at all. In high school, I would have been your twin – 5’6″ and 120 pounds. And, yes, I left that weight long, long ago. I did have the long straight hair. Ha!

    As I’ve shared recently, it has taken me all these many years to begin to actually deal with my weight issues. Not for the looks, but for the health. And I’ve discovered so many odd thought processes and habits that I didn’t even know were there. My mother never said a word to me about my weight (starting gaining in college and never stopped really), but my father was a different story.

    I think I’ll try this book. Based on your responses, I suspect it will be emotional for me too. I do appreciate your candor and trust in all of us by sharing your thoughts on it. It sounds quite powerful. Hugs to you, lady!

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    • Like you, I’ve reached a point of eating for health and self-acceptance. Could I be thinner? Probably. The BMI tells me I need to be. But my blood tests all tell me I’m doing just fine so I continue to exercise and eat well. I’ll be interested in your thoughts if you read this one.

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  4. Oh, yes, being young in the time of Twiggy was hard…and when I look back at how I felt too big (5’9″ at 130 to 140), I know we were ridiculous. But that kind of thinking sets us up for poor self image.

    I was always starving myself, and for a while, even after four kids, I was down to 125 lbs…and at my height, that was thin. But I never felt that way.

    Now I would love to weigh those amounts…LOL. Or even just feel that I had enjoyed my life back then. Sigh.

    The book sounds good. I have another of Higgins’ books waiting: Now That You Mention It. I should read that one first…since I’ve had it so long.

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    • We were absolutely ridiculous back then but I think the age has a lot to do with it. I’m a lot nicer to myself at my age now and just try to be healthy. It’s a good read and you don’t have to read her books in order. Hope you get to read this one.

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    • There are characters who fat shame but the author doesn’t. It’s quite apparent. Too bad Twitter has such influence because I think Twitter is wrong on this one.

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