Journalist Liz Jones ran a campaign to ban skinny models in her former incarnation as editor-in-chief of influential Marie Claire, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the premise of her rather entertaining debut novel, 8 ½ Stone, centres around weight and the quest for happiness.

Jones creates a familiar beast in protagonist Pam, a woman reaching 40, who believes that if she can just hit that elusive ideal weight, everything in her life will be great. Of course, as we all know, nothing is that simple, and Pam’s most successful relationship seems to be with food, as her top 10 (13) list of sweets show (No 1 Maltesers, ‘It is a diet … Eat one of these small balls and the weight just drops off.’) Saddled with a ‘superhumanly svelte, snake-hipped’ husband, it’s Pam’s lot to be obsessed with all the food that society tells her she cannot eat. Sound familiar?

Jones’ book is extremely readable, filled with sardonic observations that will ring too sadly true to many a woman – and probably others, too – brought up to believe that we have to look a certain way, and that carbohydrates and sugar are the devil incarnate.

8 ½ Stone will inevitably draw comparisons to the Bridget Jones books in its observational style and humour, but Jones’ message is more direct, addressing our unhealthy obsession with weight and its wrongful correlation to happiness.

I read this in a matter of hours and it made me laugh – and also a tad sad at how much hit a nerve. It’s the perfect book for this moment – and the perfect holiday read, whenever we’re allowed to have holidays again.



Liz Jones | 8 ½ Stone | Matthew James Publishing | EBook | 12 April 2020 | £8.99 |

A paperback will be published in August 2020. Please support independent bookshops and libraries.


Acknowledgements: Quoted text from 8 1/2 Stone © Liz Jone 2020. Many thanks to lovely Martina Ticic of Midas PR for organising the tour and to the publisher for supplying a review copy of the ebook. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other reviews on this tour.

See also: ‘Damian Barr’s slice of South Africa‘; ‘Lynda LaPlante’s nod to the old and the new‘;’Prospect beautiful, Derek Jarman’s cottage‘; ‘Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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