pound for pound book coverReviewed by Kelly Ferjutz

Body image problems are not new. I’m sure that bulimia and anorexia existed when I was a teenager, but in those years, any kind of addiction was never brought out into the sunlight for a closer examination and possible treatment. I’ve lived with body image difficulties all my life, having inherited my height from my very tall father, and thus towering over my petite mother, who always seemed confused by my size. I’ve finally adjusted to being who I am, but in the years since I was a girl, these two horrendous diseases have become insidious and ever-present social nemesis.

Because our society allows for such a pressure-filled ‘demand’ to be made of those who may have a weak area, it is all too easy to be tweaked into a seriously addictive life-style. Shannon Kopp presents her struggles with bulimia in an open and forthright manner, making this book an invaluable resource for every young person anywhere. Children of parents with serious addictions are perhaps at higher risk than otherwise, having some experience with the chaotic lifestyle and maybe even considering it ‘pseudo-normal’.

Ms. Kopp’s honest disclosures provide valuable insight into her bulimic condition and give a caring parent or other family member some of the warning signs to watch for, if it appears that one of their own is on the slippery path to destruction. One facet of her happier younger years, however, was the family dog, Sugar. Sugar loved unconditionally, as do most dogs who are loved in return. (Just like people!)

The great philosopher and advocate for peace, Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’ Even while Shannon felt herself lost, she never forgot the love of her dog, and found herself wanting to help find homes for those dogs who had, for whatever reason, become homeless.

It’s a sad truth that good, loving homes cannot be found for every dog (or child, for that matter) that needs one. But Shannon was able to use her writing and photographic skills to help alleviate this situation in San Diego, while working for a very forward thinking Humane Society. Too bad they can’t all follow this same business model!

At about this same time, Shannon was fortunate to meet the love of her life, Danny, who always supported her, even when she made it nearly impossible for him to do so. He provided an anchor for her to grasp, all the while providing the stable home life that she needed in order to more successfully fight her addiction.

Not that it was easy! She was in and out of recovery groups and therapy for many years, but eventually, she found peace and the strength to push the addiction to the far reaches of her mind.

Pound for Pound is a remarkable book and not only for its open, honest look at the dark side of addictions that are usually kept hidden in a closet. It also deserves accolades for shining a bright light on a disgraceful part of our society–that it is obviously less expensive, and easier to euthanize perfectly healthy animals, rather than expend the time and dollars necessary to find good homes for them. All that love just ignored and discarded. (There is some language, but I didn’t feel it was gratuitous, and probably couldn’t have been easily ignored.)

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First and foremost, Kelly is a reader, then a writer and editor. She adores Regency-set novels, and cozy mysteries. Every now and then, however, she finds something else to enjoy if it has a great premise with characters who belong in there, and fabulous writing! She writes under her own name, as well as her pen-name, Hetty St. James.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by FSB Media. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.