All About Kate by Josie Laird
Updated: Apr 17, 2019
All About Kate is an engaging and thought-provoking debut novel. The story centres on Kate who is her 20s and who works in a pharmacy. The biggest obsession of her life is not her boyfriend, or job, or hobby or interest, but losing weight. Kate has tried every diet available with limited success and can’t accept the curvy body that nature has given her. She goes to her doctor seeking some diet pills, but her doctor refuses to give her what she wants. But when a customer comes into the pharmacy to return some diet pills, instead of destroying them, Kate begins taking them in secret – quickly becoming addicted.
The weight slowly comes off with the pills, but the side effects push away all who are dear to her, including her boyfriend, Luke. As an adopted child, Kate has always wondered about her birth mother, but when her birth mother contacts her wanting to meet, Kate has a double surprise – she has an identical twin Caro, who wasn’t adopted out. Caro is identical in looks, but dresses with confidence and Caro enjoys the body she has. Kate begins to look at her own body with new eyes as she gets to know her twin sister. But meanwhile, her addiction to diet pills forces her to take action by seeking help.
All About Kate is a novel about a young woman discovering herself and learning to be comfortable in her own skin. The reader goes on a voyage of discovery with Kate as she battles her demons and learns to love herself. The novel tackles some meaty topics – eating disorders, self-image in our modern world, identity and loss, but Josie touches on these serious topics with a light touch. Kate is a memorable character, and I felt a great deal of empathy for her as the novel developed. It was interesting to have a twin sister feature in the book, someone comfortable and happy in her body unlike Kate – so raising questions about nurture vs. nature while reading this well-crafted novel.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan
Swooping Kereru Press, RRP $29.99