Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins was a book about three girls who meet at age 17 at fat camp one Summer. Together, they dreamed of what they would do in life once they became skinny. They shared a bond that continued after camp and the book begins around the time that Emerson (one of the three) finds herself in the hospital dying from the strain her weight has put on her heart. The three girls are together in the hospital one final time as Emerson tells them to finish the list they made at camp (the dreams they had for when they became skinny).
Marley and Georgia set out to honor their friends wishes and check things off the list. In doing so they learn so much about themselves and their relationships with family and friends.
I really enjoyed this book! I have never read a Kristan Higgins book and I would love to read another one. When I went to the library to check out this book, I noticed she has written so many! The content of this book was very body image focused, encouraging, discouraging, uplifting and inspiring. I read this quickly and was so engaged throughout the entire read! I would love to try another one of Kristan‘s books because I loved her writing style.
Personally, I felt this book was great! However, there were parts that were hard to read. As women, it is so easy to fixate on our diets and our weight and some things hit so close to home that it was uncomfortable, but I did find myself learning about me while the girls in the book were learning about themselves as well.
Rebecca is the one who chose April’s novel, so I’m going to let her answer the questions below.
- Why did you select Good Luck With That? I had heard about Good Luck With That from a friend whose book club had a lot of discussion with it. I wanted to read a book that ignited conversation and required us to do a bit of soul searching prior to discussion and I think this book delivered. To be honest, I didn’t dive too far into the reviews before putting this book forward as an option to read, so I wasn’t familiar with the amount of controversy surrounding the book and particularly the author’s take on the subject matter. While overall the premise of the book was to herald body acceptance, at times I found the writing to be destructive and shaming which left me feeling uncomfortable. However, Kristan Higgins creates a friendship between her characters around a topic that many women struggle with, so while I personally could not relate to the gravity of the obesity struggle of the character Emerson, I was able to relate to various other aspects of their friendship and individual personality “hang-ups”. We had a good discussion at my kitchen table about society standards and self-image so I’d rather leave some of that discussion at my kitchen table. While this is a prevalent topic for so many women (and men), I think it’s a topic that benefits from many voices as opposed to just one. I’m going to politely dodge a few of the recommended questions for discussion from the publisher and stick to the few that I think open the door to a more positive and broad viewpoint about overall acceptance.
- Do you think our culture has impossible beauty standards? Are these changing at all? *As we all collectively nod* Of course there are impossible beauty standards! There always have been and there always will be. Throughout history those standards have changed but regardless of what the standard was…it was still a set standard that women, in particular, felt the need to live their lives by. Our moms grew up surrounded by their own standard and their moms before them, and back and back it goes. From today’s social media influencers (which that title ALONE should give us all pause…), to Queen Elizabeth I’s court, to ancient Greece; beauty standards have existed. I only hope that I can live my life in a healthy manor, physically and mentally…. no matter what that looks like. This is something that I’m even more mindful of by having a daughter. I want her to be confident in who she is, no matter what that looks like.
- Do you think it’s possible to overcome negative stereotypes you hold about yourself? I absolutely think that it’s possible but I do not believe that it is always easy. In the book, each of the characters grew in environments that fostered their particular type of insecurity. When you are consistently placed in an environment when you’re told one thing, or treated a certain way, you start to truly believe that one thing. That can be the most destructive and deflating experience, and in the instance of our characters – defined who they were. We all have negative thoughts that can creep in from time to time but don’t be your harshest critic. Surround yourself with positive relationships, talk to a therapist, and process through these thoughts at your own pace.
- How can friends stay close without spending time together? Do you have any long-distance friends who are especially close to you? I have such beautifully strong friendships that I value individually; a friend that has said “just let it go” and let me sob violently on the phone while she sat and listened, a friend who would drop anything if I said I needed her there, a friend who I can watch any British show and movie known to man with, a friend who always keeps me laughing, friends who will almost get into dance formation when they hear any Prince song or Tina Turner’s Simply The Best…all friends who know me deeply and have seen me at my highest highs and my lowest lows. These are all women that I am SO stinking proud of and have shaped the woman I am. The positive side to social media is that the day-to-day lives of almost everyone can be tracked. I think this has helped tremendously in keeping up with some friends I may have lost touch with otherwise but any good relationship requires work. Call, text, Facetime, insta stalk, send memes, respond to (my new personal favorite) Marco Polo messages. If you put the effort into valuable and positive relationships and separate yourself from the negative and draining ones, you’ll be far better off!
Thanks so much to Rebecca for answering these thought provoking questions! If you have read any Kristan Higgins novels we would love to hear about it in the comments below.