Jeff Lyons can’t stand Ellen de Luca, the fat girl in his ceramics class. She’s huge, clumsy, can’t throw a pot to save her life, and stares at Jeff all the time. But he’s a “nice guy” and feels terrible when Ellen overhears his hurtful remarks about her. The “crumbs of kindness” he tosses her way soon turn into advice on weight loss, college, clothes, hair . . . and, to everyone’s surprise, good-looking Jeff actually dumps his pretty girlfriend to be with the fat girl! Re-creating Ellen is a labor of love, Jeff thinks. But as her pounds melt away, Jeff resents the happy, independent young woman he has unleashed. Where is the gratitude for all he’s done for her? With this darkly ironic take on the classic Pygmalion tale, Marilyn Sachs offers young readers a candid portrayal of what happens when the intoxicating thrill of control is confused with love (Goodreads)
I originally chose to read this book after reading a review of it on my blog site (by Chrissi Reads). I am not going to lie, I struggled. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I found it hard to read how controlling and harsh he was being about Ellen. I hated what he was doing to her and I hated the fact that it took so long for her to fight back. I am glad he brought out the best in her, it was just horrible to read.
I felt like I couldn’t relate to Jeff at all. You could say that is controlling nature is a bi product of his home life and the fact that he has no control there. I don’t agree with this, though. His home life wasn’t so bad that he had to control everything. I felt like punching him fairly often because of the way he was.
Ellen irritated me too. I understand that she was bullied – been there, done that. At the same time, it bugged me that she took so long to actually do something about the fact that she was being controlled by Jeff. I liked her growth in character, and I am glad she got rid of him afterward, but it is still annoying that she needed him to do it.
Sometimes, the way in which the story was written also irritated me. It was like reading from the perspective of a small child – which I guess is what Jeff is.
I liked the topic and the idea because we never really read about a relationship in which one person is being fully controlled by the other. Even when we do read these books, they are normally from the perspective of the person being controlled rather than the person doing the controlling. It was a new and fresh take on it
I gave this book 3/5 stars based purely on the fact that I was easily irritated by the characters and I felt uncomfortable in some places.