Friday, October 8, 2021

Book Review: If The Shoe Fits

I'm trying to get as many reviews out to you, and off my desk, as I possibly can. I realize the likelihood of me hitting my Goodreads goal this year is laughable at best but by God, I'm going to go down trying. Ha!! 

If the Shoe Fits - Julie Murphy

After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America's favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.

Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn't expect? That she may just find inspiration-and love-in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn't fit, maybe it's time to design your own. 
I'll be honest, I really loved Julie's book Dumplin', which was one of my very first OwlCrate boxes I believe, but after that it seemed the body positive movement took over and I'm kind of over it. *covers head in shame* But before you come at me! It's not that I think the movement is without merit, quite the opposite, in fact. I'm just kind of over it. I don't think there is anything wrong with plus size characters, the more the merrier, but when I look at characters that I am drawn to, it's not the first thing that comes to mind. Does that make sense? Anyways, I was on the fence about this one going in so I didn't buy it, but when it came as one of my books in a recent Once Upon a Book Club box, I figured it's time to give it a go. 

And it wasn't the worst. It wasn't as terrible as I was worried it was going to be. I'm not a fan of shows like The Bachelor and I think they are the most ridiculous ever, but I understand the basic premise of them, so going into this I had a good idea of how this was going to play out. The best way to describe this book is it is a combination of The Bachelor and the classic story of Cinderella... kind of. Cindy agrees to go on the show her stepmother is in charge of (and her stepsisters are also on the show) and she's hoping that if nothing else, she'll get her face and name out there, and show of the shoes that she designs and makes to hopefully jumpstart her currently stalled career. The bachelor? Oh, he's just the quirky, hot guy she met on the plane but didn't get his name or any information and bam- he's the bachelor she's fighting all of these women down for. 

OK, I really liked the humor of this, it's campy and fun, it definitely makes fun of itself and the insanity that is reality shows such as these. All of the behind the scenes staging is on display, the cattiness of all of the women, but also the toxicity of it all, especially for women who aren't necessarily comfortable and sure of themselves. I also liked how Cindy bucked at the assumption that because she is a plus size woman, surely she must have low self esteem and think poorly of herself. Everyone assumes because of her size she would exclude herself automatically from things and I really liked how she consistently went against the grain and showed them that the only people uncomfortable with her or her body is them. I did love the mention in the ridiculousness of the fashion industry with their sizes and options, I'm not even a large woman even I am at a loss when I'm shopping, it's the worst. 

Anyways. As much as I liked Cindy in those regards.... she was actually kind of an idiot. She absolutely falls for Henry (our bachelor/Prince Charming) but she's one of those characters that gets stuck on one thought and plays it over. And over. And over, through several pages and chapters until you get to the point and say, "I hope he picks literally anyone but you and I don't care if you love him, for the love of everything!" because that's what was going through my head. I just... ugh. I got so frustrated that I literally almost DNF'd it because I was just sick of that same drum being beaten because you can only listen to it so much, you know? For me this really fell flat and I can really only give it 2 stars. I wanted to give it 3 but if I'm being honest, that third star just isn't there. I think if you are a fan of shows like The Bachelor, or if you're a big Julie Murphy fan, you'll enjoy this far more than I did. 

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