Why You’re Gorgeous, Book Review

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Quick Review of Why You’re Gorgeous (by Katy Gilbert)

I interviewed Katy Gilbert a few weeks ago on this blog. Katy’s latest book is titled Why You’re Gorgeous, a book that’ll leave you “inspired, relaxed, smart, confident, and a hell of a lot more self-loving” (text from official blurb).

I have a print copy of the book. To me, Why You’re Gorgeous is what a mainstream book should really be all about.

It’s a relatively slim, non-fiction book at 147 pages, but there’s very little fluff, so what you get is information that is sincere as well as useful / inspiring (refer to blurb text above to see what you’ll be getting).

Why You’re Gorgeous is divided into 10 chapters, which cover topics such as media and society, sex/relationships, body/appearance, and self-love. The book gets straight to the point in terms of literally reminding the reader why he/she is “gorgeous.” I think this is especially important in a world that’s very much driven by consumer culture, where materialism and external looks are given a lot more emphasis than something that’s more intrinsic and that sustains us from within (genuine self-love, in other words).

What makes the book extra special is the inclusion of contributors’ quotes and perspectives throughout the text. This was a very nice balance to the author’s main text, as it creates a tone that’s both personal as well as social.

Some excerpts:

(Pg 53 — Section on Bullying)

I have a right to freedom of speech!

Yeah, you do, and you’re lucky. What you don’t have it unqualified liberty to be a jerk.

Having the fortunate right to speak your mind does not entitle you to force your opinions on other people, cause physical or emotional harm to anyone in any way, or suggest that other people or their views are worthless. With freedom of speech comes responsibility for consideration, kindness and respect. Exercise it.

(Pg 62 — Section on Style)

Personal style is a goldmine of confidence, respect, creativity and fun.

“It’s not who we really are, it’s type of character we’ve morphed ourselves into because we think it’s right…What happened to ‘personality matters’? That has been completely overshadowed by these ‘clones’.” (contributor’s quote)

(Pg 87 — The fame game, all the same)

When so many celebrities are hand-picked and trained to be a certain size, their entire community appears to be made up of that one size and shape (skin tone, hair colour, etc etc). This presents an entire mini-world that is completely unrealistic but comes off as “normal”, so the lack of variation is projected as the way the world is — not true.

The writing style is suitable for all ages (tween, teen, young adult, older adult). I would’ve loved to have read this book during my teenage years :)

If you know anyone who’s struggling with body image issues, or is trying to develop a genuine/lasting/healthy form of self-love, do consider getting them a copy of Why You’re Gorgeous!

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Why You’re Gorgeous is available in eBook and print formats (at Katy Gilbert’s Website and her Lulu Shop), written by a lovely person with a lovely heart (Katy’s interview link).

Author Interview, Katy Gilbert

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Interview #64, with the author of “Why You’re Gorgeous”: Katy Gilbert!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

katygilbert

Determined, optimistic, individual, creative, caring.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

katy gilbert

From Why You’re Gorgeous:

Blurb:
“Have you ever felt less than utterly delectable?
Ever ruled out the possibility of wearing something that you loved (hello, leopard print Speedos) because you were afraid of what people might think?
Have you ever considered chainsawing your thighs or diving into a cereal diet?
Are you concerned that you can’t be manly if you wear pink?
Have you ever been told that real women are all curvy, or that you need to ‘erase’ your wrinkles?
Confidence lacking? Not believing that you’re exceptionally attractive?
You’ve come to the right place.
Welcome to the world of Why You’re Gorgeous!
It’s time to skip along the path to self-love. It’s possible.
What are you waiting for, gorgeous?”

Excerpt:

“You’re meant to look at your face and your body and gasp in horror. I’m a human being! With skin that isn’t baby youthful for eternity! I have hips! Where is my sixteen pack?! My jaw could do with a bit of chiselling — fetch the tool box! Quickly!

[…]Laughter lines? We can erase them! Hold still, this scalpel here’s just gonna nick into your wallet. Hips?! Unnecessary nowadays, out with them!

[…]Need a more manly jaw? Dahling, haven’t you seen the wonders a painless transformational procedure can achieve? We’ll have you de-deformed in no time.”

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

Oooh, this is so difficult, but what a great question!

I eventually chose Meg Rosoff. This is an excerpt from her book Just In Case:

“Who knows what to expect from a blast of that magnitude? The brain struggles to process information with which it has no experience, races to find an explanation for the searing pain in one shoulder, the awkward bend of a leg folded under and digging into your solar plexus, a leg that turns out not to be your own.

[…]All around are events signalling noise, mouths open in the posture of screams, huge panes of glass splintering from within bent window frames. Everything falls much too slowly and silently towards the ground.”

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is the love of my life, the publication process is…not so much! No, I’m joking! Whereas being an author is everything to me -– writing is my passion, purpose, the one (when you know you just know, right?!) –- the publishing world is full of dreams and sparkle and you really have to grind away at it to reach them. That’s not a bad thing, though! I’ve self-published two books now, and the publishing side is always a little more stressful than the actual writing. I suppose it just doesn’t flutter around me quite as naturally, but the challenge is an important one! It’s cool to be able to look over your shoulder and know that you achieved it.

In terms of approaching publishers and agents I love the overall experience; I take joy in creating my story. It is very wearing at times; I don’t think you can be aware of the full extent of what you’re taking on until you’re caught up in it yourself. It takes guts to persevere in this industry: you’re constantly offering yourself up for approval, and more often than not you don’t get it. I think you have to relinquish your grip on the personal and let rejection whoosh over your head. Be the sparrowhawk, not the sparrow!

There’ll always be days when it hits you harder than others, but that’s OK. There’ll be one day that turns out to be the best, ever, when everything finally comes together. It’s so exciting to think about a gleam of sun rising on it, and you having no idea what’s falling into place! I mean, that’s exciting regarding any day, let alone one as special as that.

I like that part about how it’s exciting regarding any day ;) What is your definition of “good writing”?

I think for writing to be ‘good’ it just needs passion behind it. If an author is completely dedicated to really putting craft and effort in the end result will have a degree of shine to it. That’s always going to be better than something someone’s thrown together for the sake of money or popularity, for example -– no matter how much talent is involved in either. Love for your baby shows!

Sweet! Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Keep going. You have times when you think ‘God, how much longer is it going to be like this’, then you get up the next morning and you do it again and again.
If you persevere you’ll come through the other side, right out into the bright, sparkling, unicorn adorned light!

And, enjoy the journey! Don’t be so fixated on ‘making it’ that you miss out on what’s just as important, which is getting there. You want your own story to be fabulous, too!

Sorry, that’s two tips.

Important ones, though :) Your websites/blogs/etc:

www.katygilb.com (website)
www.katygilblog.tumblr.com (blog)
www.katygilbert.bigcartel.com (buy / shop)
www.youtube.com/katygilb

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Much thanks to Katy for stopping by — do visit her website for more info about her and her very original/inspiring projects. Stay up to date and win cool prizes with her newsletter too!

UPDATE (2 Sept 12): Here’s my review of Why You’re Gorgeous.