Charmayne Ellis is a thirty-six year old professional woman who works as a bank president. She has her own house and her own savings. In her spare time she hangs out with her good friends Lynette and Ebony (who don't like one another). Her Mother and sister Dayna may constantly embarrass belittle and take her for granted but she truly loves them. Char has a well developed spiritual life with a deep connection to her church and her faith. The only thing she feels like she's missing is a spiritual man to share it with.
One day the incredibly handsome Travis walks into her life and begins wooing her. On the surface he appears to be everything she's dreamed for: spiritual, hard working, incredibly handsome, polite, totally into her and her mother likes him. But something doesn't seem quite right although Char can't pin her finger on it. She ignores the voice inside her head and leaps rather quickly into marriage she didn't bargain for.
This book isn't for every one; it definitely was not for me. I felt like I was being preached to rather than told a story. Feminists would probably roll their eyes at some of the messages Char lives her life by. Like, "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing..." There were many times throughout the book I was going to stop reading. "I want to be able to respect my husband and submit to his leadership" was one of them. Then there was the whole homosexuality as a "sin" that was disturbing. Char is a devout believer in God which I have no problem with but I actually find her constant talk of her faith a distraction from the storyline. As I said, this book isn't for every one.
There is nothing enticing about the interaction between Travis and Char-- no sparks are felt on either side which leads one to question why Char would succumb to the Travis hurricane at all or how she could possible think that he could "fix her" is beyond this reader. Char's interactions with her friends and mother were more entertaining.
The book switches back and forth in trying to abolish fat stereotypes then enforcing others. I like how it demolishes the stereotype that overweight women cannot be successful in their careers. But it takes that away in the other hand by implying that women need men to lead their lives. Or that overweight women eat burgers four times a week. One of the things that bugged me about Char's character was her constantly asking to be judged by her finer qualities but she seemed to lack the same compassionate judgement for others. The book also uses the weight loss brings about positive change card when her life brightens as she loses weight (down to 190 pounds) and could shop in a "normal-size" women's store.
Most stories are about the overweight woman who meets the handsome guy and lives happily ever after. The guy in this scenario isn't so great and at the end Char has resolved that she doesn't need a man to make her already fulfilling life complete. But there is something in her tone at the end that is disturbing and inflects that she possibly hasn't recovered positively from the life experience.
Overall, I can't say I would recommend this book for the majority of readers looking for plus size main characters.
Farther Than I Meant to Go
Farther Than I Meant to Go