Goodreads: Eat, and Love Yourself
Publish date: 21 April 2020
Genre: Graphic Novel
A story about Mindy, a woman living with an eating disorder who has to learn how to love herself again.
In pursuit of the perfect body, Mindy buys the low-fat diet products and the glossy magazines which promise the secret to losing weight. One night, while perusing the aisles of the neighborhood convenience store for a midnight snack, she finds a new product. A chocolate bar called “Eat and Love Yourself”. On a whim, Mindy buys the curious candy, not knowing that with every piece of chocolate she eats, she will be brought back to a specific moment of her past — helping her to look at herself honestly, learn to love her body the way it is, and accepting love. Perhaps, she will even realize that her long lost high school best friend, Elliot, was more than just a friend…
Trigger warnings: Eating disorders, body dysmorphia, body shaming, binge-eating, purging
I got extremely excited when I saw this cover and read the synopsis. The comic covers an extremely important topic that is such a personal issue for so many people who have struggled with their weight, and loving and accepting themselves. So I’m pretty sad to say that the story gave me pretty mixed feelings and that ending was especially disappointing because it was so abrupt. I checked to see if this was a series but I couldn’t find any information on it. I’m kind of hoping that Mindy’s journey will continue but I have a feeling it won’t?
First of all, this art work was fantastic. I loved the colour palette and the art style. It has a modern edge to it and it’s a little more “rough/sketch-like” than I usually like but I really enjoyed it in this graphic novel. I thought Mindy was drawn really well too. She’s shown as having a very curvaceous body type although I don’t know that I would identify her as having a “big” body. Still, I liked her character and her style in particular was great!
Now, on to the more serious content… My weight and self-image is something I’ve struggled with my whole life, even now as a 31yo, so Mindy’s situation was entirely relatable and really hit so close to home. This comic made me feel so much–sadness, anger, happiness and hope. I experienced so much of what Mindy went through, although I’m thankful (I guess) who’ve always had friends who’ve told me that they loved me the way I am without then going on to give me backhanded compliments about my eating habits and body. But when it comes to family, the toxic words that came out of their mouths were mirrors to what used to come out of my parents’ mouths, and wow. Those were some really tough scenes to read. You can feel Mindy crawling into herself and wanting to drown her feelings in the one thing that gave her comfort: food.
Mindy experiences flashbacks after eating this chocolate bar called “Eat, and love yourself”. I thought the concept was really cool–imagine discovering such a chocolate bar! The flashbacks show us when she started purging for the first time, how she stopped eating in front of others but binged in private, how she went to therapy to try to deal with her bulimia but stopped going, and how until now she has never learned to love or accept herself because of the hurtful things her family and friends would say to her. These moments were so painful to see, and my heart broke for Mindy (and in a way also for myself) but with each one I was really hoping that we would get to see more growth in her character. I know how we see ourselves doesn’t change over night but for a premise that promises a journey of acceptance and self love, I have to say that we don’t really experience it.
That’s not to say that Mindy doesn’t experience any change. She stands up for herself to her parents and it was a scene that had me screaming “HELL YES, MINDY! You tell them, girl!” It was an empowering scene that I felt in my bones! She also started to realise in later flashbacks towards the end just how much damage she was possibly doing to herself, but just as things were getting better the story just ends. I was expecting more positive changes to come, especially with the rekindled friendship/romance between Mindy and Elliott, but the story cuts off seemingly mid-positive thought and let’s just say it was pretty underwhelming and unsatisfying.
Overall, I think that this story has a great message that’s very important to talk about and I’m glad this graphic novel exists. That said, I think it could stand to be slightly longer so that Mindy’s change and growth can be fully realised because unfortunately, I wasn’t near convinced she had accepted herself with that ending. It felt too much of a “beginning” than a satisfying ending.
Thanks to NetGalley and BOOM!Studios for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. This graphic novel is out 21 April 2020!
Have you read Eat, and Love Yourself or is it on your TBR?