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Bite Me: Book Review

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Bite Me: Book Review

Posted on April 12, 2017

Ever since the age of 7 when my girl-friend introduced me to the world of Sweet Valley High, I was obsessed with reading. My friend Allison in second grade had an older sister who was 13, and had the entire collection of Sweet Valley High series and Baby Sitter’s Club. I never gotten into  Baby Sitter’s Club series as I had no siblings so it wasn’t really relatable. Nor did I ever want to build a business at such a young age.  But I was OBSESSED with Jessica Wakefield in SVH. She was the cheerleader, popular, spontaneous, unreliable little twin sister. Which I find hilarious now because I am so the opposite of Jessica Wakefield. I grew up to be a complete Elizabeth Wakefield. (if you’ve read the series, you know)

Anywhoooo, my obsession with reading started back in second grade and it still runs deep into my life where I tend to read several books a month. A mix of fiction, non-fiction, some pop self-help, sprinkled in with biographies. I read to learn, to be the best version of myself mentally, self-awareness, but sometimes to escape my reality and live in another world. I mean, in the hectic life that we all live, sometimes it’s fun to escape my reality and jump into someone’s else life. It’s a sweet and often times an exciting distraction that I get to experience. By reading a good book, I to experience different emotions in a complete different universe. It’s like watching a movie. But in a book, I get to create the characters and the set based off the visual descriptions of the author, but I have some creativity in it. Know what I mean?

So last Fall, when I was in NYC for work walking back to my hotel from a killer soul cycle class, I got lost in Greenwich and ran into the cutest vintage book store. It reminded me of the episode of Sex and the City when Miranda met a guy and they hit if off. And at that exact moment, I felt wanted to be Miranda. All sweaty, but still cute in my messy top knot bun and Lululemon gear with a fresh glow to my cheeks (this is how I envision myself, not to say that it’s reality LOL)  I mean, I was in NYC for work, single and how cute would it be to meet a guy in a vintage book store? But no such luck, but I was able to find the book”Bite Me,” by Ally Hilfiger. The book just stuck out in the shelves and it intrigued me for several reasons.

  1. Ally Hilfiger and I are similar in age and I found it slightly comical that she wrote a biography. I mean, in the 30 some years in her life, what could she have POSSIBLY gone through?
  2. Back in High School, I saw her reality show, “Rich Girls.” And I have no recollection of the show other than one pool scene where she has a complete melt down. Basically she’s in the Hamptons, in her huge backyard and sitting in her pool. She’s wearing huge black designer sunglasses with her dad on her cell phone, crying. Crying because life is so hard and she doesn’t know what to do with her life once she graduates. I remember thinking she’s Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter, I’m sure there is a path that her dad can open up for her. It was seriously #firstworldproblems. And to this day, when I hashtag first world problems on my Instagram photos for shits and giggles, I often think of Ally Hilfiger crying to dad in her Hampton’s pool. It left THAT much of an impact on me because we all have such bigger issues in life.
  3. I was curious as to what she was up to in life. I don’t follow pop news unless you’re Kim Kardashian in Paris and robbed at gunpoint. So if you don’t make the global headlines on CNN or Fox News, I’m likely not going to know about it. So I was really curious what she was up since high school. Kinda like that girl you knew in high school who’s not on social media so you have NO idea what happened.

So with all the above reasons, and the fact that this book was $4.99 I purchased “Bite Me.” I thought it might be a good book for some laughs. This was last fall in September of 2016 and I wasn’t really feeling rushed to read this book because let’s be real… There were so many other books that I really wanted to read. But over the past weekend, I found this book collecting dust on my bookshelf, and I thought I’d give it a go. And I’m so glad that I did. I laughed, I cried and I shared her journey.

And during and after reading this book, I’m completely ashamed that I judged her. I completely judged her and it made me  think of a quote my fave Soul Cycle instructor, MB, says every single class.

I’m sure you’ve all heard this before, and I’m sure I’ve heard it before MB, but it resonated and stuck with me during her class. But it’s so true. You don’t know what the other person is going through. Often times, how one treats you has no reflection on you, rather it’s a reflection on them. But you don’t know their story.

I don’t want to share too much details of the book, as I highly think you should give it a read. But basically, it’s her journey with Lyme disease, which she didn’t know she had for 11 years of her life.  Since the age of 7, it was a constant battle with herself. Because she knew something was very wrong with her, but the relentless doctor’s that she’s seen wasn’t able to diagnose her correctly. And because the fancy doctors weren’t able to find a diagnosis, her parents thought Ally was being dramatic with her symptoms. She was labeled “not smart” because she wasn’t able to retain information like her other peers. And even after she was properly diagnosed with Lyme disease, it wasn’t a skip and a hop to recovery. But she remained mentally strong and also was able to find spiritual healing through this process. In the beginning of the book, she describes her parents and how because of their success, she was born privileged and had many opportunities that others didn’t have. And if she didn’t have this disease, what a great life she could’ve had…

I took away several things from this book. But the most important thing is compassion and not to judge others so quickly. As a viewer, it seems Ally had it but like Oprah’s said before, “everyone has a story to tell.”

xx Maddie



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