Stevie Barret has had a lap band operation to bring her weight under control. Her obesity was caused by emotional over-eating due to guilt she felt over not being able to save her little sister Sunshine and the emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of the uncle who took her in when she was a child. Sunshine was thrown off a bridge by their schizophrenic mother, Helen, as was Stevie, before their mother jumped off the bridge herself. Throughout the book, Stevie revisits different parts from her childhood, and how it was to grow up with Helen around, and sometimes, when she wasn't around.
Stevie now has to go through the process of forgiving her mother, and herself, for what happened to Sunshine and accept that it wasn't her fault that Sunshine wasn't able to make it out of the river. She has to do this while also trying to accept her new smaller body, throw off her shyness to talk to her very attractive neighbor, and gain self confidence in spite of a very jealous friend who is determined to keep her down.
1) Stevie also has to help her cousins, who have their own emotional baggage from their childhood, to plan her aunt and uncle's fortieth wedding anniversary party, a party that no one really wants to happen because it is obvious that her aunt would be better off without her uncle. What would you do if you knew one of your friends or relatives was in some type of abusive relationship?
2) How would you feel if your mother did not recognize you as her own child due to mental illness? Would you resent her for it? Would you be able to eventually accept her as she is?
3) How would you deal with a jealous friend who was trying to keep you from growing as a person? Would you try to fix the relationship, or would you just stop being friends?