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Perfect 10 - Vivien Jones
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Perfect 10

by Vivien Jones

Film Adaptation

View Net Babe, one of the stories in Perfect 10.

The girls and women in this collection of stories by Vivien Jones have two things in common; fat and an acquaintance with Jimmy at the Chippie.

There's Monica, fond of sex and food, Carol who finds her own special way to self-esteem and Veronica who sheds more than weight when she loses four stones. There's Trish and Jeannie, both in school uniform for very different reasons and Sandy, a child ashamed of her fat mother, convinced that she is fated to become a perfect replica.

Everywhere there are big girls and big women. Their strategies for survival can be inspired, funny or desperate but survive they do. In these stories their inventiveness is celebrated, their sadness acknowledged and a challenge thrown out to each of us to examine our tendency to judge by appearances.

This delightful and most unusual collection provides a welcome new insight into certain areas that are usually conveniently overlooked, obsessed as we are today by slim and perfect model looks. The heroines of these stories are large, and have to learn to adapt and survive in a society which does not prize their particular qualities. The author tells their stories with sympathy and insight.

There is great humour in some of the situations described: we learn about Jeannie, a respectable but large middle-aged lady, stranded in the late-night city dressed as a mini-skirted school-girl after a hen-party. And we learn about Jimmy the chippie — his shop is patronised by most of the heroines — who calls his daughters after varieties of potato.

There is beauty and pathos in some of the stories, notably that of Carol, who dances alone in her garden at night; but sometimes the stories go deeper, uncovering the origins of the overweight state, the misery and the guilt. And there is potential tragedy too, in the impossible despair of Sandy, ashamed of her fat mother, and of her own feelings about her.

The author reveals a wide knowledge of life and human nature in all its aspects, and in a wide variety of settings.”