The Obvious Game
by Rita Arens
Published by Inkspell Publishing
Publication Date: February 7, 2013
Source: Requested ARC from author
“Everyone trusted me back then. Good old, dependable Diana. Which is why most people didn’t notice at first.”
"Your shirt is yellow."
"Your eyes are blue."
"You have to stop running away from your problems."
"You're too skinny."
Fifteen-year-old Diana Keller accidentally begins teaching The Obvious Game to new kid Jesse on his sixteenth birthday. As their relationship deepens, Diana avoids Jesse's past with her own secrets -- which she'll protect at any cost.
I came across a review for The Obvious Game where the blogger (whose name or blog I cannot remember) highlighted a quote from the book. "Fat isn't a feeling." That was enough to let me know that I needed to read The Obvious Game. Having just finished it, I must say that this is a book that makes me want to go all-confessional and share my own story rather than offer an official review.
No I am not a fifteen year old like Diana, and no my mother does not have cancer. But when I was fifteen I struggled with weight issues and self-esteem and relationships (friendships and familial) and in so many ways I related to Diana's character. My weight issues weren't anywhere close to being as extreme as what Diana went through, but there were passages of Diana's thoughts where I thought, "Yes - I know that feeling." Sometimes while reading The Obvious Game, I felt like I was reading my own diary from when I was a teenager.
A few weeks ago my mother and I were talking about weight-loss and weight-gain and how it is always something that we've both dealt with throughout our lives. She told me that she remembered a time when I was a teen when she was really worried about me because I wouldn't eat. I had no idea what she was talking about because I didn't remember that at all. I remembered times when I didn't eat that much and was restrictive, but not times when I would starve myself. I guess like Diana, my self-perception was skewed. I can remember how I thought of myself as fat, not as thin as my friends, and when I look at pictures of that time now, I see that I was too thin. I could have had an extra 10 pounds on my bones.
I knew that reading about weight and eating disorders and self-perception and control would bring up some memories for me and be an emotional read. It is exactly why I seek out books like The Obvious Game which make me consider how I think about my physical self, both then and now.
What I liked about The Obvious Game:
- set in 1990 - no cell-phones, no texting, no social media
- realistic teenage relationships: Seth - the best friend, Amanda - the frenemy, Jesse - the perfect? boyfriend
- present parents - the family is central to the story
- small-town Iowa - Homecoming, field parties; create your-own-fun: been there, done that!
- the jump in time-span between the last 2 chapters
Would I recommend The Obvious Game? Yes. Obviously.