Tuesday, March 30, 2021

NR Walker - The Weight of It All

After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.
He joins a gym.
Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.
As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamours Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.
Reed just has to convince Henry that life isn’t about reaching your ideal bodyweight. It’s about finding your perfect counterweight.

Comment: After seeing many positive reviews on this book I thought "why not" and decided to get it. Finally, it was time to pick it up and start reading...

This book begins with Henry realizing his weight has been the main reason why his long term boyfriend left him although probably not only because of that. He decides it's time to change his days and he joins a gym, not only to, perhaps, win his ex back but to prove he can be more attractive and energetic. By doing so he meets Reed, a personal trainer who enrolls Henry in a program and they hit it off pretty much from the start. As the days pass and his body starts to change, so does Henry's attitude and everyone likes who he is becoming. Henry knows his change in habits can explain why he feels better in his skin but could it also have something to do with his friendship with Reed, even outside of the gym?

It was very enjoyable to read this book. It's easy and low in angst and we know it will end well. It's also not focused on the sexual relationship, so we can appreciate the story for its moral lesson: we should do what makes us happy while having a healthy life and that feeling good to ourselves and in our own skin, will make others like us more and be happy to be near us.

This is basically what happens to Henry as he tries to change a bit after his boyfriend left him. In the blurb it is said he does it to get his ex back and that might be the reason why he took the first step but let me say that the plot is more centered on Henry's self journey into being happy in his own skin. That also means the romance is quite ow level, but very sweet and tender nonetheless, because we get to see the little things that make him and Reed be happy in each other's company.

In fact, if there is something I might change or would emphasize, that would be how much of an impact the changes had in Henry because, considering the writing style - so direct and without fluff - it looks as if, sometimes, this isn't such a big deal and the changes are just difficult physically while Henry mentions some exercises. In fact, the biggest changes are in his personality and perception of himself as someone worthy but at times I felt this made it look like the physical side of things, the motivation to go to the gym and the time it takes to notice he was different physically was made to seem quick, easy. I think Henry was sometimes too economical in the descriptions of how much that might have been.

I suppose I understand the author wanted to reinforce the fact that the big thing happening here was Henry realizing if he was nicer, if he felt he was improving, those around him would see a better side of him, the same way if we are feeling well and smile to others, they will be more likely to reciprocate. However, there were moments I felt the process was happening too quickly and too easily.

As for the romance, it was more on the sweet, companion-like level, than a passionate or pining kind of way. The two guys are in sync for most of the time, they have many things in common - certainly part of their emotional journeys too, and their professional relationship runs smoothly. Slowly we get to see how they might be developing feelings but there's nothing flashy or dramatic over it. When the time comes, they just talk about it, everything goes quite simply and they act like people going through doubts and uncertainty about the other person.

I liked them as a couple but theirs was a cute, tender romance.. I think if the author had added a bit more pining to their feelings, a bit more "need" to how they wanted each other, this would have been even more romantic, especially if the focus would have kept being the emotional and not the sexual aspect of their love demonstrations. 

 This was a sweet story, it's true, easy and funny in several passages, shows a positive side to weight loss and accepting oneself and the message is all we could ask for. Personally, the romance could have been a little stronger and the writing a bit more intense here and there but, for the most part, I liked reading this book and getting to know Henry and Reed.

Grade: 8/10

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