I first read All About Vee by C. Leigh Purtill back in 2008. It arrived just before the beginning of summer and I picked it up expecting a light, girly read I would breeze through in just a few, short days, and then promptly forget most of the details within right after writing the review. My first impression of this book, the brightly-colored cover and teenagers holding hands with huge smiles plastered on their faces, pointed to precisely this series of events. When you have read and reviewed as many young adult books as I have over the years, you learn that you can indeed judge most books by their covers and know what to expect from them. The key word here is ‘most.’ But this particular book turned out to be so much more than that.
Veronica May is the main character in All About Vee. She is a kind and caring young woman and friend, she is outgoing and confident, and she is a gifted actress who travels from the small town in Arizona she grew up in with her father to Los Angeles, California to become a successful actress. Veronica is optimistic about her move to LA and the career she has plans of launching there, but she soon learns that in LA, the talent you have in your chosen profession matters less than how thin and attractive you are. And Veronica is a plus-size young woman of 217 pounds.
As C. Leigh Purtill recently wrote in an article we republished a few weeks ago, Veronica May’s self-confidence wasn’t just tested by the people she came into contact with in the book, she is in fact still being discriminated against because of her size by a number of people who have read this book since it was published in 2008. Veronica doesn’t suddenly get to LA, realize she’s “fat”, and then go on a crash diet or start popping diet pills and working out six hours a day, seven days a week with hopes of turning her body into a size 0 so the powers that be within the entertainment industry finally give her the time of day and a job. She doesn’t give up on her dreams or on herself by considering herself “less-than” because other people tried to make her feel that way.
Veronica struggles throughout All About Vee, but because she doesn’t struggle in the ways a lot of people expect her to or how a lot of people think plus-size women should struggle, a lot of contempt has been placed on the shoulders of Veronica May. But in all of the ways people have disliked her character, those are precisely the reasons why I have loved her and why she has stuck with me throughout the years.
It is for all of these reasons why I am super excited to have been given the opportunity to give away a signed copy of All About Vee to one lucky Woman Tribune reader.