Pear Shaped by Stella NewmanPear Shaped by Stella Newman
Published January 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: ARC

Note: I was granted an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my rating or the content of my review.

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A novel about love, heartbreak and dessert.

Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl loses mind.

Sophie Klein walks into a bar one Friday night and her life changes. She meets James Stephens: charismatic, elusive, and with a hosiery model ex who casts a long, thin shadow over their burgeoning relationship. He’s clever, funny and shares her greatest pleasure in life – to eat and drink slightly too much and then have a little lie down. Sophie’s instinct tells her James is too good to be true – and he is.

An exploration of love, heartbreak, self-image, self-deception and lots of food. Pear-Shaped is in turns smart, laugh-out-loud funny and above all, recognizable to women everywhere.

Sophie Klein, 34 years-old, is the “Queen of the Puddings”, a dessert developer at Fletcher’s, with an outrageous love for food. She used to be slightly chubby, but managed to get her weight down to an ideal, making her feel good about herself.

One night at a bar, she is being chatted up by James Stephens, who is ten years older than her, and turns out to be a wealthy salesman with a but of a beer gut but plenty of energy. They pursue a relationship that is more than ambiguous: James travels all the time, and while absence makes the heart grow fonder and Sophie falls for him more and more, James (when he’s not taking her out to dinner) treats her like a doormat and deliberately criticises Sophie’s weight and looks. After all, he was used to younger girlfriends straight out of fashion magazines, and told Sophie openly that she is “not his usual physical type”.

DNF at 62%

This book was an ab-so-lu-te pain to read, and I am happy to tell you why. Never ever have I seen a main character that is so controversial. Sophie starts out as someone who is happy with her life and looks, and kind of self-confident, and she throws all of this away and lets doubts consume her – just because she fell for this douchebag James. And James is ten years older than she is, and criticizes her weight while he is nursing his own beer gut.

I really couldn’t help but get angry at the many times James treats Sophie like his willing doormat. He hurts her continuously, directly and indirectly: he never says that she looks good (it’s always the dress), he calls her his “sofa” (because she’s so comfortable), he never says he loves her (because he only loves “her company”). And yet, time and time again Sophie lets it go. She keeps telling herself that she is too sensitive or reads too much into things…

In the end, she always tells herself it’s her fault and never confronts James with what an arse he is. And then, when she finally does and they finally break up, she remains helpless and weak and texts and e-mails him all. of. the. bloody. time. with stuff like “I miss you, I overreacted, bla bla”.

I hated both James for being such a conceited and Sophie for being such a weak and gullible doormat persona who kept going on about her weight and comparing herself to others (when apparently she was a size 10 with a toned body, which in my books is good).

At 62%, I really had enough of all the BS and called it quits. I had unfortunately come across a spoiler and knew how the book would end so it wasn’t that much of a loss. And I just felt that making more than half of the book about this horrendous relationship didn’t warrant anything good in the last 40%. I don’t usually DNF books (I think out of the 200 books I read over the past year, I probably DNF’d 2 or 3), but this was too much.

I liked the writing, the English charm and the whole foodie universe, but the storyline just didn’t cut it for me…