The Shape of Us, written by Lisa Ireland, is about a relationship between four women who are all battling weight issues. They turn to an online forum and strike up a friendship. The four women are from different walks of life to each other and bond over their desire to lose weight and look and feel fabulous. Of course their friendships grow and the four become each others’ rocks as their lives all take some twists and turns.
Each character is developed as an individual, with strengths and their own issues, aside from their weight loss needs. I particularly liked Jewels – overweight, wanting a baby, owns a pastry shop, has a heart of gold and wears clothes that suit her. Mezz is a doctor with a family in shambles, her character I found a bit annoying and self-indulgent (her husband agrees with me). Ellie is searching for a new life in Australia and embraces her over-weightness which I really liked – she isn’t focused on how she looks but how she feels. Kat is a single mother who embraces life wholeheartedly. I liked Kat as she was able to put things in perspective and make hard decisions on her own and with her friends.
The four women work well together and show that difference isn’t a barrier to love and friendship. The big issue of weight and how our society views food, fashion, how we look and the pressure to conform is strong throughout and allows for the differences of opinion and ways of managing weight to be explored non-judgmentally.
The Shape of Us is an easy, enjoyable read. I shed some tears, and laughed out loud at times. In today’s world where weight is so important to everyone, this is a good reminder that love, friendship, health and happiness are not dependent on the size of your frock.