Monday, February 4, 2008

Mirrors Never Lie

If you ever come across this book at a thrift store or on Amazon or Ebay, BUY IT! I can't stress this enough. If you like trashy 80's teen novels (and I'm assuming you do or else you wouldn't be here), then you're going to love this one.

I don't even know if the author of this book has a first name, that's how low budget and trashy it is. I'm surprised it wasn't just typed up and stapled together. My friend Amanda had three older sisters, and therefore a buttload of books like this, and I borrowed it from her when I was in junior high. It was amazingly awful then, and even more so now.

As you can guess, it's about a girl with an eating disorder. What you don't know is that the insults and stuff in here are so lovably snarkable. Trust me, you guys, you are going to love this shit.

Bonnie Isherwood is in junior high, I guess. It's never really made clear how old she is or what grade she's in. She could be a high school freshman, I don't know. I'd put her at around 13-14 years old. She lives with her mom, who is a real bitch if I ever saw one, and her sister Dana, who is a professional model. Bonnie is going to try out for her school's cheerleading squad, and is all worried and shit about how she's going to do. Dana offers to take her to the modeling agency so she can learn how to properly walk and sit and stuff. As an avid viewer of America's Next Top Model, I can't see how learning the runway walk will help her. Dana should teach her to make her eyes fierce instead.

Bonnie gets to take half a day off of school to go to lunch with Dana at the local French restaurant (not Chez Maurice) and then hang out at the modeling agency. All the models yell at her and teach her how to walk and shit, and she's holding a pose when a photographer named Potts spots her and offers to take her picture. I just kept on picturing that one scene in Fame when I got to this part. She takes the pictures and he says maybe they'll come up with something.

Bonnie decides later that she needs to be on a diet, mostly because her bitchwhore mom and Dana keep on telling her she's got baby fat and is pudgy and stuff. This book actually gives Bonnie's height and weight and she's 5ft3 and weighs 109 pounds. WTF, Mom and Dana, she's already thin! In junior high my friend was nearly that exact same height and weight, and she didn't have a bit of fat on her. Mom and Dana are crazy, and this whole book is their fault.

Bonnie and her BFF Toni have their cheerleading tryouts and both make it. Of course, only 8 girls tried out and they could take 4. My junior high had at least 40 or so girls try out, and my high school had well over 200. The coach tells them all they have to start watching their weight, and Bonnie thinks she's speaking directly to her. She does this a lot, you'll see. At home, she goes through her mom and Dana's magazines and picks out a diet to stick to.

After a few weeks, Bonnie has lost some weight and is feeling kickass. She decides to try out for her school play, and thinks she'll get the lead because she's thin now. Thin = talent! Another girl named Leslie ends up getting it, and Bonnie thinks it's because she's not thin enough yet, because Leslie is thin and pretty and popular. Bonnie cuts her portions on food back in order to lose more weight.

The cheerleading coach decides to hold practices at lunch now instead of after school so that the girls can be in the play or other sports. Bonnie gets a 10 minute long exercise regimen from her coach so she can tone up a little bit, and of course does them for like 30 minutes instead. She decides to try out for the cross country track team, and has a guy named Jeff for her partner. He flirts a bit with her, and she concentrates on losing more weight.

Dana comes home with some good news, Potts wants to use Bonnie for an upcoming catalogue spread. She's excited because she could use the money for Christmas presents. She goes and ends up earning 60 something dollars, and is stoked. She decides it's all because she lost more weight. Dana has been getting worried about her weight loss though (she's now down to 93 pounds) and badgers her at dinner. Her bitch mom makes her eat because she doesn't want the neighbors to think she can't afford to feed her. Shouldn't she be more concerned about how her daughter looks, not what the neighbors think?

Bonnie of course doesn't listen, and eats even less. She has a huge meet in track, and beats the other team's best runner. She thinks it's because she lost weight, of course. With that, the track season is over. She also has her last game for cheerleading, and is happy to see that she made the team for basketball season too. You guessed it, she thinks it's because of her weight loss.

Bonnie has Toni over to make fudge. Toni tells her she's worried about her because she's looking really gross. She says the kids at school call her "Bony Bonnie" and "Skinny Ishy" behind her back. Skinny Ishy? The fuck? They really couldn't come up with anything better than that? Toni forces Bonnie to eat some fudge, and they fight, and after Toni leaves Bonnie immediately pukes the fudge up. She's down to 88 pounds now.

Dana comes home and asks to talk to Bonnie. She tells her that she's gotten really skinny and that her jeans are practically falling right off her fanny. Hee. Bonnie keeps calling herself fat and finally Dana tells her that Potts has been asking about her and that she's going to take her to the modeling agency. Dana thinks that maybe then Bonnie will realize how nasty she looks and eat a cheeseburger, but all Bonnie can think about is if she can lose a pound before then.

Dana takes Bonnie out to lunch and forces her to eat a cheeseburger, french fries, and a milkshake. Forcing her to eat is not the way to beat this, Dana. She takes Bonnie into the agency, and Potts asks if she's been sick. She says no, and he just backs off from her, says he doesn't need her, and runs away. Potts apparently thinks anorexia is contagious.

At home, Bonnie is sad and hungry. Instead of making herself feel better, both mentally and physically, with a frosty Snapple and bag of Snyder's Cheddar Cheese Pretzel Bits, like I would've done, she decides to start a project. Looking around the house, she notices that their fence needs repairing, and she busies herself in running around and gathering driftwood for it. Afterwards, she feels better, and hopes she can get down to 87 pounds.

Thanksgiving time! Bonnie and her family are going to stay a few days at her grandparents' house. She's nervous about Thanksgiving dinner, as her grandma makes some kickass food, and doesn't know how she'll fool everyone into thinking she's eating when she's really not. Her grandma tries to feed her, as grandmas usually do, but doesn't push it when Bonnie says she's not hungry. Later on, though, Bonnie overhears her grandma asking her mom if she's been sick. Her mom, who is pretty much oblivious to the fact that her daughter is a walking skeleton, is all like, "Bonnie who? Oh yeah, the non-model one." She tells Bonnie's grandma that all girls do crazy fad diets and that Bonnie will just grow out of it. Incompetent parent say what?

Bonnie has very little to eat at Thanksgiving, and declines dessert. That's the best part! Back at home, she has a nightmare that the scale reads 196 pounds, and freaks out. She weighs herself, and she's now back at 88. Fatty! She decides to try diet pills. Please, if that shit actually worked, there'd be no fat people. You're dumb, Bonnie. She raids her piggy bank (her modeling money was put into a savings account), and only has a little over a dollar. She goes down to the drugstore anyway, and is sad that all the diet pills cost at least $4. She considers stealing a box, but the owner of the store is watching her, so she just goes home. The next morning she steals $5 from her mom's wallet.

Somehow it's track season or something again, and the track team have all gotten together to brainstorm a fundraiser. Someone suggests a Weed-a-thon, and everyone enthusiastically agrees. Are you kidding me? That's the dumbest fundraiser I've ever heard of! Plus, what if there's not a lot of weeds? These kids suck. Jeff chooses Bonnie as his partner. It's because she's thin, naturally. Jeff calls her after the meeting and they go over some Weed-a-thon details, and then he asks her out for ice cream when the fundraiser is over. She accepts, because she's too excited about going on her first date to think about ice cream. Mmmm, ice cream.

Bonnie's group raised $12 for the Weed-a-thon, which I guess is good, and Bonnie is happy because she lost another half of a pound. They go to the ice cream shop, and Bonnie orders apricot ice cream with hot fudge on top. Gross! Leslie, the star of the play, is also there, and is watching Bonnie the whole time. Bonnie of course doesn't eat her ice cream and makes some excuse and leaves. She was as creeped out by Leslie as I was.

Bonnie finally goes Christmas shopping, and buys a candle for Dana, a brass basket for her mom, mugs for her grandparents, and a calendar for her dad. Even though she and Toni haven't spoken in a long time, she buys her decorative shoelaces. Hot! At home, there's a letter from her dad saying that he was in Paris (he's a pilot) and would visit on Christmas Eve. She immediately runs to the mirror and checks out her fanny. I just can't get enough of that word! Her mom sees the letter, and proceeds to rip her dad apart because he never bothers to see the girls any other time. Okay, word, bitch mom. Bonnie pledges to herself to lose more weight before her dad shows up.

Christmas Eve comes, and her dad doesn't show. Bonnie beats herself up about it and thinks her dad didn't come because she's too fat. I'm so sure. They receive a telegram the next day from their dad saying that he got called for an emergency flight and had no time to call. He also wishes them Merry Christmas, to which Bonnie's mom replies, "Merry Christmas, my Aunt Fanny!" Oh man, I think I'm about to die laughing!

School is back in session, and Bonnie is preparing to cheer at a basketball game. Toni takes her aside and tells her that some guys are planning on shouting stuff at her. Bonnie thinks Toni wants her to go home because she's jealous. Of course, Bonnie cheers at the game, and the guys shout the best insults ever, I have to share them:

-Rattle them bones!
-You yell it, we'll tell it, Bony!
-You run off the floor, Skinny, before you fall down and break your BONES!

Aren't those hilarious? I don't get the whole windmill thing, someone please explain it to me if you do. Bonnie starts crying and runs home. She skips school for a few days, the first day pretending she's sick, and the rest just ditching. She walks around town, and a guy at the deli offers to give her a sample. He gives her a pickled mushroom, and she wipes off all the olive oil and taking a billion tiny bites, eats the thing for her lunch. Ew.

Bonnie decides to go back to school, and is happy that track practices will be starting soon. However, when she gets there her coach says she has to have a doctor's note before participating. Oh yeah, she's at 81 pounds now. Her mom freaks out and blames it all on Bonnie. She literally screams at her while forcing her to eat, and Bonnie refuses and runs away.

Bonnie goes to the doctor, who weighs her at 85 pounds, but estimates her weight without clothes to be at about 81. He tells her she is dangerously underweight, and that he suspects she's anorexic. Her mom says that's crazy and that Bonnie's just been sick. She tells the doctor to just sign the stupid permission form so that they can leave. The doctor says that he wants to see Bonnie in 2 weeks, and if she's gained some weight he will then sign the permission form.

Predictably, Bonnie's mom goes psycho on her, and instead of worrying about Bonnie's health, bitches on and on about how the doctor humiliated her. She tells Bonnie she will force her to eat and will also supervise each weigh in. Her mom needs to get over herself and think about her daughter instead. She screams at Bonnie at every meal, and forces her to take large portions. When her mom starts talking to Dana, Bonnie spits the food out and hides it in a ledge on the table. Fooled you! Her mom thinks she's eating it all, and tells her she did well. She then offers Bonnie some ice cream as a reward, which Bonnie declines. Who offers an anorexic ice cream as a reward?

Bonnie starts running on the beach, and comes upon Jeff training with some hot bitchy girl. Hot Bitchy Girl says Bonnie looked like a little windmill coming towards them. What the fuck is up with the windmill shit again? Bonnie is sad and leaves.

Bonnie tries tricks at her supervised weigh ins, and her mom starts catching on when she's not gaining anything after a few days. In science class, they learn about weights and scales, and she gets an idea. She shoves curtain weights into her pockets, and they cause the scale to move up. Her mom is pleased, and says they'll have a regular old fatty pretty soon. Again, not a good move on her mom's part. She sews curtain weights into the bottom of her shirt and sweater, and gets her permission slip signed at her doctor's appointment. She has a track practice, where Jeff tells her she'll be competing against Hot Bitchy Girl. Bonnie vows to win.

Track meet time, and Bonnie easily passes other runners. However Hot Bitchy Girl, after calling Bonnie Skinny and Bones and telling her to move out of the way, wins the race. Bonnie passes out. She wakes up in the hospital with an IV in, and her deadbeat dad by her side. I guess her mom was too embarrassed to come. Bonnie worries about the calories in the IV. No, I'm serious! Her nurse comes in and pulls back the curtain separating her from her roommate, Tanya. Bonnie is shocked because Tanya is disgustingly thin. She learns that Tanya's been in and out of hospitals since she was 12. Bonnie is scared, and doesn't want to look like Tanya, so she tries to eat. She fails, of course.

The track team sends Bonnie a basket of fruit. I wonder how many weeds they had to pull to afford it. Bonnie's dad tries to force her to eat some, and then turns on her bitchy mom and accuses her of not feeding her. She accuses him of being a deadbeat, and he turns on Bonnie and tries to force her to eat. He's stopped by the appearance of school play star Leslie. Leslie tells Bonnie she used to be an anorexic, and totally knows Bonnie is one, too. She gives Bonnie her psychiatrist's name, and leaves.

After everyone leaves, Bonnie is scared and defiant. She doesn;t want to eat or see a doctor. Suddenly Tanya starts making gurgling sounds, and Bonnie dizzily rushes over to her and holds her hand while shouting for a nurse. She looks down and realizes that her hand looks just like Tanya's. She finally realizes that she's way too skinny, and the book ends with the psychiatrist coming in her room the next day. Dumb ending!

Where do I start? The crazy 80's title font? The feathered bangs? The bleach blonde hair and black roots? The Glamour Shots By Deb pose? The cover looks so trashy, and I love it. Oh yeah, and I have 13 Is Too Young To Die, also.


troy steele said...

Okay I have to read this book

snappleaddict said...

It's on Amazon. I got my copy from when I was a member of PaperBack Swap.

As You Wish said...

Wow. I was anorexic in high school and besides the psycho-bitch mom, modeling and the fanny obsession, that actually pretty much describes how it was for me. The weights (omg I can't believe they actually printed that though, I guess people didn't think about "triggers" in the 80's..) were even about the same, and I did cheerleading, plays, and track. Weird.

marmoonyc said...

Oh My God...why did I never encounter this book when I was in the sixth grade? It would have become an instant favorite.

I'm taking an Adolescent Literature class at school, and today we spent a whole hour discussing Goosebumps and the Babysitter's Club. My professor just scoffed and said "Well, you may have read those books, but your children never will because they're an example of disposable children's literature. You can obsess over them as a twelve-year old, but no respectable twenty-one year old would read them, even for a laugh." So, this guy in the class raises his hand and goes "are you kidding me? There's nothing funnier than re-reading those books from an adult perspective. Have you read some of the blogs dedicated to those books? They're hilarious." The prof. was both intrigued and skeptical, and asked him to bring some examples to class. So...come Wednesday, choice excerpts from your blogs might be the subject of some hearty classroom debate.

snappleaddict said...

Holy crap, maybe I should try to fix the wonky spacing in case anyone looks at this!

Kamala said...

"She decides to try diet pills. Please, if that shit actually worked, there'd be no fat people."
Actually, it kind of does work if you already have the self-control to starve yourself, since that pesky hunger doesn't get in the way. I went through my own "diet phase", according to Bonnie's mom, when I was in high school and the only thing that stopped me using pills was that on the back of the box it told you to carry around a spare of dark pants because of various side effects. Gross!

I used to love these eating-disorder books, they were so deliciously angsty. The one I remember best was about a Jewish girl who was bulimic, and she decided to do the Yom Kippur fast for the first time so she could lose weight. She also had a pseudo-friend (Nancy, I think?) who taught her how to purge. When I think about it, everything I knew about anorexia/bulimia at 12 I knew because of these random Young Adult books.

I never read this, though I totally want to buy it now. I don't understand the windmill thing either. Maybe because windmills are...tall and thin? But Bonnie's only 5'3", that's normal height for a 13/14 year old, if not short. I'm stumped.

scarlett3984 said...

This book sounds fabulous. I hate how books like this always neatly wrap up the conflict in the end. Like "Oh, I'm comes the psychiatrist...I'm cured." It justs makes it seem so easy. Maybe I'm just thinking about this too much.

Lauren said...

My sister uses "fanny" as a synonym for "vagina," so I have a feeling this book would crack me up too.

I'm surprised the book had so many anorexia tips, too - I had an eating disorder in college and eventually wrote a play about anorexia, and tried so hard to make the play authentic without including any hints that might give someone ideas on how to lose the weight or hide the weight loss. Sounds like this book would be awfully triggering for a girl on the verge of developing an ED.

snappleaddict said...

I think this book was so low budget that no one looked it over and was like, "Hey, this could be triggering for young girls," or "What the fuck does a windmill have to do with a skinny girl?". I mean, hell, how could the author afford to have someone proofread when she/he can't even afford to have a first name? That's the only explanation I can give!

maebetonight said...

omg kamala, I have that book! it's like a series of diary entries and it's called Fat Chance, right? Nancy Pratt was a bitch, but at least the bulimic girl had a reasonably nice(albeit absent) mom. There's lots of wretched clothing descriptions but I don't think it's as ridiculous as Mirrors Never Lie. I totally want to read this one now!

....windmill, though? I don't get it.

snappleaddict said...

Okay guys, I Google image searched windmills, and they might have been referring to the ones that have huge long fans and a skinny little thing holding them up. I guess they were trying to tell Bonnie that her head looked too big for her body because she was so skinny. I just call people like that lollipop heads, because seriously, I was picturing the windmills like on windmill cookies the whole time. Then again, this book does make me very hungry.

cassandraclue said...

i'm sure that this girl would gain weight in a WEED-a-thon.

13readingat30 said...

Why does Bonnie run out when the kids insult her at the basketball game? From what I have read (although of course I don't have the personal experience to back it up) most anorexics are secretly pleased when people say they are "too thin".

TessieBambos said...

Worst. Family. Ever.
Poor Bonnie! I seriously want to run up to this poor fictional character and give her a hug! This is totally her mothers fault. But I have to find this book!

snappleaddict said...

I found one copy on Amazon but it was like $3.75. I got mine on; I suggest going there. The same author also wrote 13 Is Too Young To Die, which is about a girl with lupus who also has a similarly shitty ass mom. I'm pretty sure the author had mommy issues.

Angie said...

THANK YOU for posting this!!! I have been wracking my brain for years trying to figure out the title of this seriously made a huge impact on me in middle school. I just googled "bony bonnie" and your blog popped up. I'm so excited because I just found our local library has it so I'll be checking it out this week...what a walk down memory lane!!