Amy Reads Books

Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves

Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves - Crystal Renn When Hungry was first released it went straight on my Amazon wishlist, however, as the months whiled by and other books came and went, eventually it fell by the wayside. However, when I spied a copy of it in a charity shop for just £2.50, I kind of had to buy it. The subject matter of Hungry is incredibly important and eye-opening, but for me, there were times when the messages that came through the novel were rather mixed (as a disclaimer, I am in no way a 'plus size').Hungry tells Crystal Renn's story on how she went from starving herself to be thin, to becoming a hugely successful plus-size (and by 'plus size' we're talking UK 16) model. Renn grew up in a complex family background, but had big dreams of attending university and studying law. However, at the age of about 14 she is told by a modelling scout that she could become a supermodel, so long as she lost a considerable amount of weight. She achieves this, through developing a hugely problematic relationship with food and an obsession with exercise. However, gaining a modelling contract is not as lucrative as she believed and it is only upon her cracking and deciding to become a plus size model that she really found success.Her story is an important one, that highlights the numerous hypocrisies within the fashion industry. The idea that grown men and women have no problem in telling a fifteen year old that their thighs are too big is utterly heartbreaking. It also shows the growing problems that many young (and even more sadly very young) women have in regards to their bodies-and the fact that few people really know how to talk about eating disorders that don't conform to either anorexia (not eating at all) or bulimia (binge eating & then being sick). Renn also shows the problems with regulations in the fashion industry, which tend to use the words 'should' and 'to the best of our knowledge' in regards to banning young models or those with a dangerously low BMI. Hungry is also an engaging read, whilst it's unclear whether Renn or Marjorie Ingall was mostly behind the writing, the book is pacey and I read it over a four hour babysitting session.However, despite the fact that Renn continually says that there can be naturally slender people some of her writing does fall into the camp of bashing one group to empower another. She point blank dismisses the idea that skinny people can quite suffer in the same way that larger people do with body confidence, the only women who are described as truly sexy and attractive are other plus size women; and she also brings up the idea that men prefer curvy women. Although, no doubt, larger women who have struggled with body confidence issues will find this welcoming, as a smaller person this largely left me feeling worse than I did when I started reading the book. I feel that Renn or Ingall should have made more of an effort to celebrate body acceptance for all sizes; which was attempted but undermined by the idea that 'skinny people have it easy' (as someone who has had total strangers comment on my weight & who has been told the reason I'm single is due to my lack of curves, that is far from the case).Hungry tells an important story, and Renn's tale should be used as an example of body acceptance. However, as a book to me it lacks a cohesion that could make the message empowering for all women.