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International GIVEAWAY & Take Five Q & A with Donna Cooner, Author of SKINNY
October 3rd, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

Take Five Q & A with Donna Cooner, Author of Skinny and GIVEAWAY


Skinny is a must-read for every girl! I’d like to see it in every school and library, too, because body image is a critical part of a person’s self esteem!

My review: Oh boy! Does SKINNY know how to crawl into your mind and mess you up! She’s vicious, and I haven’t met one girl who hasn’t heard her at least once in her lifetime!!!! Does she speak to you a lot? Do you listen to her?
You must read Skinny to find out what I mean. Pick up this YA novel and you’ll go on a journey of discovering one’s worth with Ever, the main character of this novel. This is a powerful story about body image, obesity, perceptions, family dynamics, and learning to love yourself. This is not a novel for the weak of heart. Drastic, necessary measures were taken in this novel. Anyone who knows someone who has been morbidly obese or has ever heard a voice in their head telling them that they’re ugly, needs to read this novel.
I deeply appreciate Donna Cooner’s honesty. She doesn’t mince words. The story reads quickly. There is a cast of characters readers will find interesting, especially Rat who could be a role model for a lot of guys out there. I also was taken in by Whitney who was absolutely obsessed with doing a makeover for Ever. Like her or dislike her, there are girls out there just like her. Makes you think about how focused our society is on image!
One last thing—and it’s a personal perspective. If you see yourself first as a body, then it’s hard to ever be truly happy. But see yourself first as a mind, heart, soul and then a person who has a body to do positive things with the gifts you’ve been given, and I truly believe it’ll be much easier to focus on achieving your dreams and goals. Think about it.
Put this on your must-read list. Discover Skinny – find the true Ever. You just might find yourself.

My deepest thanks to Scholastic for the ARC I picked up at the BEA of Skinny.

 TAKE FIVE Q & A

1. I personally don’t know any female who hasn’t at one time in her life had a “Skinny” speak to her. What do you think is the most important message you can tell yourself when dealing with “Skinny?”

Donna Cooner

A: The first step is learning to recognize that moment when the inner, critical SKINNY voice kicks in and speaks up.   Maybe the voice in your head isn’t criticizing your weight, but it’s saying things like, “you’re too stupid” or “you’re too poor” or “you’re too ugly.”  Once you are aware of the self-critical messages you send yourself, then you begin to understand you also have the power to change those feelings.  It might help to document the negative thoughts in a journal to see patterns and situations where your SKINNY voice is especially known to surface.  If it works, give the voice in your head a name or even visualize silencing it, as Ever does in the book.  When you realize the self-criticism is in your own mind and it’s limiting you, then you can concentrate on changing the message to something more positive and supportive.

2. There is a lot of focus on our bodies: being beautiful, wearing the right clothes, being thin. It is a message we’re all bombarded with every day. What, if anything, would you like to see change?

A: The media inundates young people every day with the message that value depends on the way you look.  I hope someday we can break free of those narrow expectations and allow our vision of beauty to become much more diverse.  I know so many beautiful people, and they all look different.  It’s not about how they look, it’s about who they are.

3. Music is an extremely important part of Ever’s life. She loves to sing. But because of her weight, she refuses to consider auditioning for the school musical. If you were to meet a young adult who has a beautiful voice but believes she’s too heavy to audition, what advice would you give her?

A: Music has intense emotional power.  A song can instantly connect a listener to a vivid, visceral-filled response.  In SKINNY, I selected powerful ballads with lyrics that spoke to Ever at that point in her journey.  Even now, when I listen to those songs, I get teary.  The emotional connection is so potent, it puts me right back in the story.  By selecting a favorite song that stirs gutsy, bold feelings, I believe a hesitant performer can overcome fear and negative energy.  Some examples?  Just listen to “I Am Here” (The Color Purple) or “Listen” (Dreamgirls).

4.  Rat is one of my favorite characters. He is an integral part of Ever’s support system, especially when she takes the biggest step to change her life. (I’m not saying what it is because I want readers to find out on their own.) What qualities do you feel a person needs to possess in order to be a trustworthy support?

A: Our closest, most trusted, friends need to have the ability to both love us as we are and to support us as we change. Good friends help us become the person we want to be, but still keep true to their own unique identity in the process.  We can trust them with our biggest dreams and, even though we aren’t always the most perfect friend in return, they don’t let us down.  In my mind that is the true test of a trustworthy friend.  They see you at your worst, but don’t give up on you.

5.  There is a lot of emphasis on diet and exercise in our society. Obviously, it’s to have a healthy lifestyle. Yet, millions of Americans struggle with this issue. Why do you think the message of healthy eating and exercise isn’t getting through to people?

A: I think there is a huge conflict in the messages we receive.  On one hand, we’re told to exercise and eat healthy.  On the other, we’re bombarded with fast food and drink advertisements that tell us the path to true happiness and social acceptance is exactly the opposite.  Combine those confusing messages with the difficulty of trying to break bad nutrition habits rooted in childhood, and we have our current situation.   I was raised in the South, so fried food and desserts were a staple.  Food was used as a reward and big nightly meals were a required part of family life.  That was my nutritional foundation.  Later, as a college student in the era of the microwave, processed foods were quick and common. Now I know the importance of good nutrition, but it isn’t a something that comes easily and naturally.  Eating mindfully and exercising frequently take thought and planning.  I have come to the realization it’s worth it, but it was a definite journey.

For more information on Donna Cooner and Skinny, visit her website: http://www.donnacooner.com/ 

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7 Responses  
Aline Tobing writes:
October 3rd, 2012 at 1:10 am

Skinny sounds like a powerful read!
I never have a weight problem all my life (actually I’m kinda skinny myself LOL) but I could see and feel the struggle of people around me, family and friends, with this problem. I hope this book could be an eye-opener for them.

NURMA writes:
October 3rd, 2012 at 12:16 pm

absolutelly this is a book for me..
i always want to be skinny ( but it never happened) so i just love me just the way i am…big is beautiful ;p

rosalina rusli writes:
October 3rd, 2012 at 1:35 pm

yup, this is my issue from teenager until now… but now i’ve learned to live with it and be happy for who i am…
take it or leave it 🙂

Lilian S writes:
October 5th, 2012 at 5:21 am

A lot of teenager now want to be skinny, to look more beautiful like the actress they like. i think this book will open the eye of society.

anary writes:
October 10th, 2012 at 3:05 am

I think this book would be a great read for me on our upcoming sembreak. I hope I get a chance to read this. :))

Christie K. writes:
October 10th, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I can whole-heartedly relate to this book. I’d love to read the whole book to share the story with others, especially my niece, who is a middle-school girl battling this issue daily.

Sarah O writes:
October 10th, 2012 at 10:49 pm

This novel sounds like a really important read. It wouldn’t be the first I’ve read that deals with weight as an issue, but it sounds by far like the most real. I’m really looking forward to checking this book out. I’m glad it’s approaching the subject from a very honest perspective.

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