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Artichoke's Heart

Artichoke's Heart

4.6 60
by Suzanne Supplee

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It?s not so easy being Rosemary Goode and tipping the scales at almost two hundred pounds? especially when your mother runs the most successful (and gossipiest!) beauty shop in town. After a spectacularly disastrous Christmas break when the scale reaches an all-time high?Rosemary realizes that things need to change. (A certain basketball player, Kyle Cox, might have


It?s not so easy being Rosemary Goode and tipping the scales at almost two hundred pounds? especially when your mother runs the most successful (and gossipiest!) beauty shop in town. After a spectacularly disastrous Christmas break when the scale reaches an all-time high?Rosemary realizes that things need to change. (A certain basketball player, Kyle Cox, might have something to do with it.) So begins a powerful year of transformation and a journey toward self-discovery that surprisingly has little to do with the physical, and more to do with an honest look at how Rosemary feels about herself.

Editorial Reviews

Anjeanette C. Alexander-Smith
Rosemary Goode grapples with her weight through sarcastic wit, Pounds-Away diet drinks, and constant haranguing from her mother, Aunt Mary, and the spiteful Bluebirds clique in this tale set in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Her mother purchases a $700 treadmill for her, and her aunt delivers a ticket to a Healing the Fat Girl Within conference. Neither one motivates Rosemary to stop overeating. They only make her resent her family. The only gift she treasures is a collection of Emily Dickinson poems. Through Supplee's Southern style of humor, lyrical language, and gifted storytelling, readers witness the day-to-day problems that Rosemary faces with her obesity. Misty, the head honcho of the Bluebirds, bestows the menacing moniker Artichoke to Rosemary and teases her during every opportunity that she has an audience. Think Mean Girls reloaded The heart of this story is the strained relationship between Rosemary and her mother. When her mother is diagnosed with cancer, Rosemary must make amends before it's too late. Readers will also enjoy Supplee's descript rendering of beauty shop culture. Reviewer: Anjeanette C. Alexander-Smith
School Library Journal

Gr 8-10

Rosemary Goode doesn't have a carefree life; being an overweight binge eater makes her self-conscious around other teens, and her Aunt Mary's constant criticizing doesn't help matters. Rosemary works at her mother's salon, where she sees the beautiful and popular girls getting primped for dances. Her single mother tries to help her, buying a treadmill (on which Rosemary hangs clothes) and arranging for therapy sessions. Rosemary's friendship with a fitness-obsessed, friendly new girl improves her outlook on exercise, and a budding relationship with Kyle, a popular athlete at school, confuses and exhilarates her. Her mother's cancer diagnosis shocks and unnerves her, but the teen and her mom deal with the situation with realism and honesty. Rosemary is a funny, sharp, and appealing narrator; Supplee has good insight into high school life, especially cliques, and teenage body issues. Cancer and obesity are handled with humor, care, and sensitivity. Southern euphemisms and speech are sprinkled throughout the novel, which takes place in a small town in Tennessee, but not to excess. This has the breezy fun of recent YA chick lit, but with an uncommon heroine dealing with serious issues.-Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA

Kirkus Reviews
The overt story line in this touching novel is obese-girl-loses-weight, though it's really a story about developing self-esteem, connecting with family and friends and finding love. When the story opens, fat and friendless Rosemary finds herself an outcast at her high school and the recipient of well-meaning but insensitive and irritating advice at home. A strict diet-and-exercise regimen combines with new social opportunities and psychological support to cause Rosemary to grow emotionally as she contracts physically. Although parts of the story strain credibility-how many high-school athletes tenderly pursue obese girls, for example?-Supplee makes the reader care right up to the heartwarming finish. More problematic is this burning question: Could Rosemary succeed socially if she weren't dropping pounds? The answer here-which seems to be saying what matters is the heart while simultaneously saying what matters is the weight-is ambiguous on this point. (Fiction. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
A sweet confection of southern charm and gentle humor. -VOYA

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 5.84(h) x 0.98(d)
NC780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

chapter one

The Resemblance

Mother spent $700 on a treadmill “from Santa” that I will never use. I won’t walk three blocks when I actually want to get somewhere, much less run three miles on a strip of black rubber only to end up where I started out in the first place. Aunt Mary gave me two stupid diet books and three tickets for the upcoming conference at Columbia State called “Healing the Fat Girl Within” (I’m sensing a theme here). Normally, I’m not a materialistic sort of person, but let’s just say this was one disappointing Christmas.

At least Miss Bertha gave me something thoughtful, a complete collection of Emily Dickinson poems (so far my favorite is I’m Nobody!), and Grandma Georgia sent money.

Still, all I really needed was to be stricken with some mysterious thyroid condition, a really good one that would cause me to wake up and weigh 120 pounds. Instead of experiencing a newsworthy miracle, however, I spent the holiday in sweat pants, with Mother and Aunt Mary nagging me to please change clothes. I refused, citing the whole comfort and joy argument. The truth was I had outgrown even my fat clothes. It was either sweatpants or nothing.

Once I’d wolfed down enough turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie to choke a horse, I loosened the string in the waistband and plopped down at the computer. Consumed by overeater’s guilt, I browsed the Internet and gazed zombie-eyed at the countless and mostly expensive ways a person might lose weight (how pathetic to be thinking about this on Christmas night). According to a doctor on one website, “losing weight can be even harder than treating cancer.” This uplifting little tidbit was enough to catapult me straight back to the kitchen for two more cups of eggnog—right before bed. When I woke up the next morning, I didn’t even have to step on the scale. Still snuggled beneath my bedcovers, I could feel those new pounds clinging to my thighs like koala bears on a eucalyptus tree. The day after Christmas should get its very own italicized title on the calendar: December 26—the Most Depressing Day of the Year. With Christmas officially over, I knew there was nothing left to anticipate but the endless gloom of winter, nothing to look forward to except devouring the secret lovers stashed under my bed—Mr. Hershey, Mr. Reese’s, and Mr. M&M. I’m convinced Mother must have secret powers because just as I was about to rip open the bag, the phone rang. “What are you doing, Rosie?” she asked accusingly. “Have you used your treadmill yet? There’s a new box of Special K in the pantry. They have that weight loss plan, you know.”

“Mmm, almost as yummy as packaging peanuts,” I replied.

“I’m just calling because we need you at the shop today after all, Rosie,” said Mother, ignoring my sarcasm. “I want you to take down the Christmas tree. It’s a fire hazard. All dried out and messy needles everywhere.” Translation: Mother couldn’t take the thought of me eating and watching talk shows all afternoon, so she’s dragging me into work. “Miss Bertha’ll be over to pick you up in a few, okay?” She said it like it was a question, as if I actually had a choice in the matter.

“Okay,” I said, annoyed. It’s not even New Year’s Eve, and I already have to rip down the last semblance of festivity and celebration—and hope. If it were up to me, I’d leave the tree up all year, but Mother had to shove the manicure station into the closet just to make room for it, and with so many parties right around the corner for New Year’s, clients are clawing (ha-ha) for manicures. Mother isn’t about to swap good business sense for sentimentality. At least there’s time for half an Oprah rerun and a few “diet” Reese’s cups (they’re bite-sized instead of regular).

Several hundred calories later, Miss Bertha picked me up, and since the salon is only a mile or two from my house, we arrived within minutes. Mother was giving Hilda May Brunson blond highlights, and four old ladies from the Hopewell Baptist Church, a.k.a. the Quilters, were sitting under hair driers, clucking like noisy hens. I was humming “Blue Christmas” (the Elvis version) softly to myself and carefully taking ornaments off the sad, dried-out little tree. Everything was thumping along at the barely tolerable level when I heard Miss Bertha say, “Oh, Lordy, here she comes.” I looked up, and filling Heavenly Hair’s entire plate glass wina stack of paper plates wrapped in pink-tinted cellophane, her sausage-sized knuckle rapping the glass for someone to help her with the door. I had no other choice; I was forced to let her in.

“Hey, there, Rosemary, I got you some delicious treats today, darlin’!” Snort, snort. Big Hee Haw laugh. “You’ll have to wait till Richard shaves my neck real quick, though. You got time to shave my neck, don’t you, Richard?” Richard nodded politely, although I knew for a fact he hated shaving necks, especially Mrs. McCutchin’s. “Reckon you can wait that long to get your hands on my goodies, Rosemary?” Snort, snort.

Suddenly, I realized Mrs. McCutchin was actually waiting for my reply. “Oh . . . um . . . sure,” I mumbled. The Quilters gaped. Hilda May Brunson pursed her thin, judgmental lips together. When you’re normal-sized, no one cares what you eat; when you’re fat, it’s everybody’s business.

It took Richard several minutes to shear Mrs. McCutchin like a sheep, and by the time he finished, the Quilters and Hilda May Brunson were standing by the front counter.

“Rosemary!” Mrs. McCutchin called. “Can you help me get some-a this scratchy hair off my back? I won’t let Richard put his manly hands up my blouse!” Snort, snort. Cackle. (Richard does not have manly hands. In fact, nothing much about him is manly.)

Richard mouthed a Thank you, God at the ceiling and rolled his eyes. “Okay,” I said, and prayed that the Quilters and Hilda May Brunson would leave before Mrs. McCutchin made another giant fuss over the sweets. Slowly, I brushed the stubby black hairs off her barn-sized back.

“Hurry, sugar pie! Willy Ray and me and the boys is gonna try to make it to Catfish Campus before the rush,” Mrs. McCutchin scolded, and then, with everybody listening, she said IT: “Rosemary, I swear you look more like me ever day. Why, I b’lieve they got you and my little Willy Ray, Jr., mixed up at that hospital. Honey, you are built just exactly like I was at your age.”

Heat ran up my face like a scared cat up a tree. The numbers of my morning weigh-in flashed through my brain: 1-9-0. Mrs. McCutchin wasn’t a pound under 300.

The next thing I knew, Mrs. McCutchin was trying to pry herself out of the chair. Richard took one side, and I took the other. Somehow, even without the Jaws of Life, we managed to free her and stand her on her feet again. Mrs. McCutchin eyed the heap of treat-covered plates stacked on the worn linoleum and heaved her body forward to grab them. Her polyester skirt hiked up, revealing knee-highs with varicose-veiny fat bulging over. Her pendulous bosom swung in front of her face. Joints crunched. Her cheeks turned a dangerous shade of high-blood-pressure red, and layers of forehead and face and chin and neck pulled toward the ground. For a second, I wondered if Mrs. Periwinkle McCutchin might just turn inside out.

When she was miraculously upright again, the tight little salon expanded with relief. Mrs. McCutchin turned toward me and held up the pile of goodies. I shifted my eyes away from her and caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror (the whole salon is nothing but mirrors, unfortunately). It was then that I saw exactly what Mrs. McCutchin was talking about—the resemblance. It wasn’t her imagination. It was real.

“I brought tea cakes and blondies and sand tarts just for you, Rosemary!” she went on. “You don’t even have to share. And the Piggly Wiggly had pink cellophane. Ain’t that the cutest thang!” She grinned proudly and tried to hand me the festive little plates.

All eyes were on me. Every single person in the salon was waiting for my response. In private, I have absolutely no willpower, but in public I wasn’t about to fail. “I don’t want those things,” I said, my voice small and childish. And cold.

“Pardon?” asked Mrs. McCutchin.

“I said I don’t want them!” Before Mrs. McCutchin could reply or cry, I raced off to the back room and left her standing there, humiliated. It was like shunning Little Debbie or slapping Sara Lee.

According to one of the books Aunt Mary gave me, a person has to be willing to eat differently even if it hurts people’s feelings or causes conflict. I guess today I did both, although I was so upset about wounding a woman who has been nothing but nice to me my whole entire life, I came home and ate four chocolate bars and two bags of cheese curls. Not only am I fat, I’m stupid, too.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
A sweet confection of southern charm and gentle humor. -VOYA

Meet the Author

Suzanne Supplee, originally from Tennessee, lives in Maryland and works as a writer and teacher. She visited Ireland on her own many years ago and highly recommends traveling solo, at least once in a lifetime. Her favorite hobbies are reading and chasing her two Jack Russell terriers. Suzanne is married and has three daughters, Cassie, Flannery, and Elsbeth.

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Artichoke's Heart 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Suzanne Supplee was my older son's first 'real' girlfriend. I could hardly wait to read her book, but I put off purchasing it for awhile. Once I got it, though, I was so glad I did! What a wonderful storyline. Suzanne kept my attention from page 1 until the end! I could picture each and every person in the book -- maybe because I once lived in Columbia and I think I know some of the characters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ihave read this book to many times to count. I love rosemary. I can relate so much to her. If you like a good motivational page turner this is the book for you.
thegirlwiththebluedoor More than 1 year ago
hello veiwers, i'm telling you abt this book im letting you know that this book is so inspiring! im on a diet and i think rosie really helped me ! i enjoyed the preciseness of this book! although rosie was sad sometimes that made her realize that her b4 life wansnt so bad after all!This book was brilliant and i hope everyone who reads this that they will read this book! thanks for reading! love, The girl with the blue door
Mother-Daughter-Book-Club More than 1 year ago
Rosemary Goode lives in Spring Hill, Tennessee, where her mother owns the busiest beauty shop in town. Her life is pretty routine: she goes to high school, works in her mother's shop, and spends time on her own, but she doesn't have friends to hang out with. Rosie is also a binge eater, sometimes eating huge amounts of food. Her crisis comes over Christmas break when she gains quite a bit of weight and can no longer fit in her largest clothes. Rosie decides something has to be done, and she begins a liquid diet of weight-loss drinks to help her shed some pounds. But real change doesn't come for Rosie until she starts to see herself as something more than a fat girl, the one the popular girls tease and call artichoke. For the first time Rosie has a friend, Kay-Kay who is pretty and slim and athletic, and she hopes to have a boyfriend, cute Kyle Cox who is a super athlete. Slowly she begins to change her relationship with food, and all the other relationships in her life begin to change as well. Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee is about more than a high school girl trying to lose weight. The beauty shop scenes are reminiscent of Stell Magnolia's, where everyone's problems can be solved while they get their hair and nails done. There's also an interesting mother-daughter dynamic. Rosie's mother got pregnant in high school, and she raised her daughter on her own. Rose Warren (Rosie's mother) has always had to be so strong, that she often forgot to let her daughter see any weakness. When she's diagnosed with lymphoma and starts to undergo treatment, she finds she must let her daughter into her inner life more than before. I recommend Artichoke's Heart for mother-daughter book clubs with girls in high school. Issues to talk about include eating disorders, self-esteem and feelings of self-worth, family dynamics, and dating. The book provides no easy answers, which is why it should be able to generate great discussions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely INSPIRING! Honestly i picked this book up because i liked the cover, but i did read it and i feel identified with this book. It shows exactly what a young girl about the same age with sort of the same situation would think. I personally saw a difference in my weight and my self esteem while i was reading this book because the plot was moving and the characters were well developed! Go and pick this book up!! YOU RIGHT THERE READING THIS REVIEW, needs to read Artichoke's Heart. Its funny, emotional, not too dumbed down but not to perplexed, personally i have read and re-read and will keep reading this book. Will get you out of those rough times. Worth a shot if you're trying to identify yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I read suzzanes somebody everbody listens to, so thats why i went after this book. The story was very inspirational for me, and kept me up for aLONG time. If your looking for a good read, or something to help you get through hard rimes, this is exactly what you need.
bookworm13AW More than 1 year ago
Artichoke's Heart is compelling, humorous, romantic,and thoughtful. Throughout the book you are inside the life of a 200 pound girl,Rosie Goode going through issues and how she thrives to find a good friend, a strapping boyfriend, and a strong relationship between her and her mom and aunt.Rosie also starts concerniing her weight and tries hard to make her goal weight possible. Rosie goes through dramatic changes and struggles through dieting and exercising.But hope really does perch on her soul (you'll get it once you read the story!!). I reccomend this book to all age ranges and both female and male although the romance keeps a girls heart going in this book it is for everyone!! :) PICK UP THIS BOOK NOW!!
IeroSizedFun More than 1 year ago
I'm a sucker for good covers on a book so I knew I had to check it out. When I read the back of the book it looked to be very good. I was not disappointed. I fell into a small town setting with big time problems. I read it in about two days. I think anybody can pick it up and read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Made me want to keep reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's the best book ever, I've read it several times. It deserves the Teen Award and many more!!! 5 PLUS stars!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely delightful honest portrayal of the mind of an overweight 16 year old. So cleverly written to be funny yet a powerful read about self confidence, relationships and growing up. Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I. Absolutely. Adored. This. Book. Upon realizing that I needed to expand the genre of books I normally read, I was prompted by my school librarian to give this one a try. And, I am so glad I listened to her! I read all through study hall, and from the second I got to my house I didn't even set the book down until I finished! It's a fast read, and the story is so inspiring. I find I can connect with the character of Rosemary: No filter from my brain to my mouth, having sarcasm as my second language. The story, which was narrated by Rosie was very insightful into what she was thinking. Aside from being an inspiring story, it was just adorable. I would recommend this book to anybody that loves those "Warm and Fuzzy" books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the first page forward, protagonist Rosemary Goode had me literally busting out laughing and reading aloud lines to my sister who is definetely reading this book next. Rosemary's sarcastic humor was so extraordinary, yet her struggles in her everyday life are so relavent to every high school girl—self image, body issues, mean popular girls, acceptance, fights with the mom she loves, and the cute guy on the football team she is certain would never like her. Rosemary's incredible growth in this novel is beautiful and the way she can't seem to clos her mouth is hilarious. You will fall in love with this exceptional character, along with her family and friends. Highly highly recommended. You will not be able to stop—guarenteed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very inspirational it shows you it's not that hard to lose weight you juat gotta work hard it shows you that you should not have bad selfesteem you should love yourself just the way you are not who you think you should be love yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book rocks! It really shows you what some people go through in life!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it so muchi finished it in two days an i probs could have finished it faster if my mom had let me read all daylong but anyways i loved it so much rrosie is such a good person and yeah she is almost 200 pounds but she relizes that she needs to change so she does and i am so insired i mean i weigh 140 and that is more than most of the guys in my scool but rosie showd me that it doesnt matter i know that sounds cheesy but i swear its true!!!!!!!!! I toally recomend it i mean ifur like well i dontknow maaaaaaaaaybe u should DEEEEEEEFFFFFFIIIIIINNNNIIIIITTTTTTTLLLLYYYYY GET IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How many pages are in thi book? PLEASE TELL!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was so hard to put down:-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love interesting, or exciting books....this is for you. Once i read the first page, and i could read the entire thing. All the details add up to a very amazing book you wont want to put down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was intresting i couldnt resist to put it down! It so amazing how Rosemary goes through all that trouble in the beggining. Then in the end, she loses weight, has an amazing boyfriend, her mom cheers up and understands her, and she has a ex-Bluebird friend. So amazing! But, this book has adult language, so if you are young, ask youre parents first.