To fit into the perfect dress for the Valentine’s Day Dance. To look beautiful for her boyfriend, the school’s star basketball player. To keep his jealous ex-girlfriend, a rival cheerleader, away from him. And to be noticed by her classmates.
Exercising and dieting don’t work, but an advertisement for weight loss pills promises a quicker solution to her problem. As time runs out, she takes more than the recommended dose until she’s just a few inches slimmer. Heads turn when she arrives at the dance, and the wonderful night with her boyfriend is beyond what she dreamed it would be.
Days later, Carrie discovers that her body is changing in ways that should be impossible. While her doctor searches for a cure, she desperately turns to her friends and family for support. Everyone is noticing her now whether she likes it or not, and even the media is intrigued by her incredible story. Getting everything she once wanted has created new problems—problems that are growing more terrifying every day.
Because Carrie Roberts is shrinking.
I really enjoyed this book up to a certain point. And that point was when I stopped believing the story.
The story follows a girl who takes more than the recommended dosage of diet pills in order to fit into a dress for a Valentine’s Day dance. After trying the dress on at the store and not being able to zip it, Carrie is determined to make it work. Especially after the school mean girl wanders into the story and makes fun of her for not fitting into it. Words can cut deeply and I know how much one tiny little comment can crush your self-esteem. Those words worm there way into your head and they sit there and fester. You begin to obsess over them, unable to block them out. It doesn’t matter if you know for a fact that you’re in your healthy weight range. It doesn’t matter how many other people have told you you look great that day. The only thing that matters is that you can’t fit into that red dress and everyone is going to call you fat if you don’t prove them wrong. I’ve been there. So I was instantly able to connect to Carrie. Her determination causes her to make a bad choice and that choice causes her to start shrinking – vertically.
And here’s where I started to have an issue with the book. I liked the idea of shrinking as a side effect. I thought it was interesting and unique. But by the end of the book, when she’s literally shrunk all the way down to Barbie size, I just could no longer believe it. I mean, I’m not a medical expert, but it seemed really far-fetched to me. And because of that I stopped taking the book seriously and it almost became comical.
Placing that aside though, I found the story to be a great look at the pressure teens and really all women, are under to be perfect. No, not perfect. Better than perfect. Barbie doll perfect. Retouched model perfect. We all know the studies that have taken place. Someone with Barbie’s proportions would tip over and nearly all models’ photographs are retouched, skin literally cut away in the pictures to make them appear slimmer than they already are. We can’t achieve that. We never will, but still the pressure is there to be skinnier, drop another size, tone those abs more, get that thigh gap. This book does a great job of showing what the consequences of that pressure can be. It also does a fantastic job of teaching the reader that it’s not worth it and to accept yourself as you are.
I’m not sure how much this book will actually stick with me, but I do think it teaches some important lessons despite it’s lack of believability. The underlying issues were authentic and relatable and I definitely think that teens and adults alike will be able to relate.
Have you read this book? Did you find the final height to which Carrie shrunk unbelievable? Did it affect your rating of the book? How do you combat the insane pressure society puts on women to be perfect?