The Shape of Us introduces women who join a blog for people who are overweight. Four of them have issues with some of the others posting on the forum so they form a breakaway group. They communicate online and then down the track meet in person.
Despite very different backgrounds they share the desire to lose weight, searching for that illusive solution, as on the original blog they were categorised in the +30kg group. Over time they share their personal lives, each of them with issues aside from their weight. The different reasons behind weight gain and attempts to lose it were shown with empathy, and were relatable and believable.
Strong friendships are formed, for some providing a family they don’t have, and they all come rely on one another. They have ‘found their tribe’, their ‘sisters in slimming’. But as with many families and friendships, inevitably disagreements and friction occur.
This book was a joy to read, even with some tough storylines beyond the obesity, such as domestic abuse, refugees, sexuality, and infertility. Incorporating all of these into an enjoyable novel is a skill, and I look forward to more from Lisa Ireland. My only criticism of the book is the cover. It shows women who are not overweight at all, and this seems to contradict the message about body image and sizism that the book is aiming to convey.