"Scraping the sides of the mixing bowl, I began to notice just how satiny the fudge batter was. I made swirls and figure eights with my spatula. In transferring heaping spoonfuls of espresso-hued chocolate cream to the cake tins, I reveled in the lightness of texture, the airiness of what I was working with. A scoop in the pan, a scoop in the mouth. I then watched through the oven door as the cakes materialized, rising to fill their nine-inch pans."
I closed my eyes and soaked in the in the sensual description of perfection.
For the majority of her life, Mitchell was dangerously over weight. This honest memoir, though, is more than a weight loss story. Mitchell tells a heartbreakingly matter of fact story of a childhood with an unpredictable, alcoholic father. Mitchell tells this story with an even hand. She examines the love story of her mother and father. Their story has a sweetness to it.
Mitchell also tells her story of being the "fat girl" in school. It is inspiring that she does not live her life as a cliche. In fact, Mitchell's junior and senior years were filled with friends and dating and high school activities. She did not define herself by her weight.
Mitchell's story includes lifelong friends that become sisters. There are several times when we see that her friends genuine giving spirits. One of my favorites is when she and Kate go to the YMCA. As Mitchell tried to decide which cardio machine to use, asking of them, "Which of you will make me feel least hopeless?" She chose the elliptical machine and moved her body for a full thirty minutes. When she and Kate finished the workout and returned to the locker room Kate said "Well that was terrible."
And that is exactly what I have thought during and after many of my workouts. How refreshing to have a friend commiserate so honestly.
As Mitchell kick starts her journey to health, she holds on to a question that becomes a mantra: "Can you do it today? ...Can you exercise today, Andie? Not tomorrow, not the next day, not even a month from now. Today?" She found that, yes, she could do it "today". And she built upon that.
I enjoyed Mitchell's writing and will likely be reading parts of the story again as I work on my own journey.