Good morning everyone!
Today we are doing a book review and it will be on “Artichoke’s Heart” by Suzanne Supplee. The basic idea of the book is about a teenager named Rosemary who is struggling with her weight and your typical teenage drama. It deals with her relationship with herself, those around her, and with her idea of love. There are more layers than that-which we will go over in a moment (Warning: SPOILERS) and if you read my January Reading List- you know I rated this book a 10/10- however, after reading this book as an adult, I rate it a 9/10. Still a highly recommended read- I just personally was rubbed the wrong way with the obsessive focus on the weight and the lost opportunity to dive in on the other issues presented in the book. That being said- that is how my mind worked when I was Rosemary’s age and dealing with my own weight issues- so I suppose docking a point for her incredible accuracy is a personal problem. Now if you don’t mind the spoilers- feel free to keep on reading. If you do mind- go by the book. 🙂 A polite reminder to buy from your local book store- but a link to the book on Amazon is provided for Covid-19 and personal convenience.
Drink(s) of the Read:
- Cold Brew with coconut creamer (home made and a “go to”) 😉
- Ginger Lemon Tea (Great for digestion and cozy night reading)
- Echinacea Tea (Great for Immunity and Blood Sugars)
Meet Some of the Characters
Rosemary- The main character, struggles with emotional/binge eating disorder, and has a mad crush on Kyle Cox. She is very sarcastic and seems to have witty comments to anyone that gives her crap. She is struggling with her Aunt Mary’s and mother’s lack of understanding of her weight issues and wishes her mother would let her in rather than giving her typical “It’s/I’m fine” answer as well as stand up for her when it comes to Aunt Mary.
Mother- She owns her own hair salon, is a very loving and kind part of the community, and is Rosemary’s mother. She struggles with opening up with her emotions or letting life phase her- and apparently this has been a life struggle as quoted by her own mother, “She organized her dreams the way some people clean out closets. Threw out the old ones and hung new ones in their place.” (pg. 45) She is forced to begin opening up as she deals with a new and painful diagnoses of Hodgkin’s Disease that affects her relationships, her work, and her special ability to be fine.
Aunt Mary– Probably one of my least favorite characters. I related to Rosemary’s annoyance. She is very nosy and is constantly in everyone’s business- dishing out unwanted advice and self help books to avoid her own problems. She does mean well- and she gets a little easier to love by the end of the book.
Kyle Cox- This is the guy that makes the papers every week for being good at sports. The jock at the school that seems to be out of Rosemary’s league (in her mind’s eye) but in fact has taken a special interest in her. Its soon revealed by Kay Kay that Kyle always talked about wanting a girl who liked his oldies music, didn’t mind his rambling about sports, and wasn’t self absorbed. He seems like a very lovable guy who cares more about what’s on the inside rather that the outside…though he seems to like having more to love. 😉
Kay Kay- She is one of the Bluebirds, but there is more to her than her perfect looks and personality. As she becomes and unexpected best friend and running partner of Rosemary’s- it seems that Kay Kay deals with a handful of problems herself. Abandonment from her mother, a depressed father, and ADHD. She helps Rosemary become more balanced in her health tactics and gets help with her studying/emotional struggles from Rosemary.
Misty Winters & The Bluebirds- The antagonists for sure. These girls are the “Mean Girls” of Rosemary’s high school experience. They are just the bullies of this story. They gave Rosemary the nickname and add to the title of the book “Artichoke” after she had worn an insulator that was an avocado green. A gift that was given to Rosemary after she had wanted one for Christmas, but due to lack of funds didn’t receive it until the warm spring on her birthday. Rosemary was grateful, but slightly disappointed it wasn’t the berry pink color she had wanted- and was further discouraged by Misty’s rude comment saying she looked like a “sweaty, fat artichoke”.
There are obviously more characters- but these guys, in my opinion are the people that were pivotal in Rosemary’s story.
Important Concepts, Ideas, and Mindsets
- Love is not just for skinny girls. This is an obvious one for a balanced mindset. However, in a teen girls (or anyone, for that matter) who has always been criticized for her weight and bullied for her appearance- this was an entirely new idea for Rosemary.
- Mother’s not fine. The book plays with the concept of that holding emotions in has consequences not only for yourself, but for those around you. For Rosemary, food became a coping mechanism rather that dealing with the emotion herself. Mother discovered that it’s okay to not always be strong and that sharing how she felt would actually bring her closer to both Aunt Mary and Rosemary.
- Some people will always be mean- but how you see yourself is the most important. Rosemary in the beginning of the book, believed what Misty Winters and The Bluebirds had to say. She based her self worth on the opinion of others. By the end of the book- she had built a little store of self love. The book ended on a bit of an unfinished (but satisfactory) ending-leaving room for growth for everyone in the story, but it left Rosemary with some confidence and better relationship with herself.
- Working on the relationship with yourself helps to see and develop relationships with others. It assisted in the romantic relationship with Kyle, the friendship with Kay Kay, the communication with her Mother, and smoothed out some of the harshness with Aunt Mary.
- Everything is connected. Mother’s lack of sharing, Aunt Mary’s nosiness, Rosemary’s eating issues-all of it interlaced. Just as our lives are- everything affects everything. As Rosemary’s mindset shifted- all the other pieces in her life shifted.
- Relationship with food. It was very well put in the book how we have a relationship with food. In Rosemary’s case it was rather unhealthy as she would binge eat everything in sight and then have nothing but “Pounds Away” drinks and gum for days. You would watch and soon be able to predict Rosemary’s binges as they were triggered by strong emotions. Through out the book Rosemary begins to be able to decipher the difference between hunger and feelings.
- Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Kay Kay seemed to be perfect- but it ended up that she has a slew of her own crap that she is dealing with at home. Rosemary’s first assumptions of her were wrong. I think it’s a good reminder to not judge at a glance.
- Pressure does not equal results. Rosemary is constantly harassed about her weight but does not change until she was ready to do so. Mother never shared until she was ready to do so. Everyone goes at their own pace and it was a great lesson/reminder from the book. No amount of nagging, commentary, or pressure with force wanted results.
That is all for today’s book review. Again- I highly recommend reading it. Even if some spoilers are here- the witty humor, the commentary, and the relationship dynamics are worth reading a book for. For a good laugh and maybe a few watery-eye moments please read “Artichoke’s Heart“.
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