Holy emotional triggers, Batman!
Sugar is a good book. Actually, it’s a great book with one exception. I’ll get to that later. Reading this book took me on an emotional journey that felt deeply personal and brought some very real tears to my eyes. Maybe I couldn’t help but empathize with the main character, Sugar, who struggles with so many issues: her morbid obesity, her abusive mother and brother, bullies at school, abandonment by her biological father (and oldest brother), and her own inner demons that keep her emotionally stunted.
It’s easy to understand the daily fight that Sugar deals with. When she feels an emotion, any emotion, she eats. And eats. And eats. She eats to numb the pain because even good feelings can be bad for a girl who has known little more than shame and prejudice from everyone around her, including the ones who should love and nurture her unconditionallly. Sugar has a few pleasant memories from the distant past, but they are constantly interrupted by just about anyone who interacts with her.
Along comes Even. Who’s Even? He’s the flawless young man. Tall, attractive, kind, carefree, and also broken inside. Even embraces Sugar and her dysfunctional state of being warmly when others refuse to do so. Even is the problem with this book for me. He’s too perfect, too smooth, too ready to give the perfect answer to a complex problem. This would be difficult for anyone to do let alone a boy whose family is also pretty darn messed up. I was happy being sad while reading this book until the character of Even made it hard to get absorbed back into the story. Parts of the book were a bit too predictable for me as well – what happened to Even, what happened to Sugar in such a short period of time, and what finally happened.
Overall, I liked this book. Ms. Hall has an incredible talent for sucking a reader in, creating descriptive, real-to-life characters, and tugging at all sorts of emotional strings. I still recommend it, but with the warning to keep an open mind because of the paragraph above. If you can set aside the perfect imperfection and want a real tear-jerker, this is the book to read. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a good cry. Sugar will help you get there.
Rating: 4 stars
Author: Deirdre Riordan Hall
Release Date: June 1, 2015