If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2021
TW: parental death (prior to novel; discussed), grief
Since I love reality tv romance and have reviewed both One to Watch (review here) and The Charm Offensive (review here) on this blog I decided that I should also review If the Shoe Fits because I had a lot of thoughts.
Plot: Cindy Woods is a recent design school graduate with a lack of job prospects, so she moves back home to live with her Stepmom, Stepsisters, and half siblings. Her Stepmom produces a popular dating show and when her Stepsisters decide to go on the show and it suggested that Cindy shouldn’t since she is fat, Cindy decides to just go for it.
WHAT I LIKED
- Julie Murphy always has fat rep in her books and the idea of a modern Cinderella retelling with a fat Cinderella is what drew me to this book.
- I appreciated the conversations about fashion and how fat people are impacted by various aspected of the fashion industry.
- I’m a sucker for a retelling and this is a pretty loose one, but I still enjoyed the Cinderella vibes.
- There were quite a few quotes/moments of emotional growth that I really liked and thought were impactful.
- I LOVED the idea of having the evil stepmom not being a terrible person to Cindy, but instead being a reality TV person who have to be sort of shady to do their job well.
- TBH I would have liked her to be more evil/impact Cindy more while she was on the show (but this is a pretty light and fluffy book so that did not happen)
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE
- The romance. I would not call this a romance novel as Cindy and Henry are barely on page together and since we don’t get Henry’s POV I was just like ???? towards him and his emotions the whole book.
- I had a hard time tracking all the side characters.
- A lot of the plot lines just felt week and underdeveloped
- Like Cindy’s sisters have always wanted to go on this show and let they don’t seem to care at all once they are there
- Since I prefer character driven books I prefer stories that that have fewer plot lines and instead focus on character moments, etc. This is pretty plot heavy and as a result some fall to the wayside.
- The timing of the show and as a result the book felt way off to me. The Bachelor has a traditional weekly format (that is often messed with) but you know what is happening. Here I had no idea how long it was between balls and girls going home and the dates.
- I had no idea how long they were filming for or literally anything related to the show which since this is the WHOLE SETTING I needed to follow the story better.
- There also just seemed to be like five episodes?
- If I’m honest this all could have been mentioned, but IT WAS NOT CLEAR.
- The whole show didn’t feel like The Bachelor and I know I shouldn’t compare it, but it just did not feel like reality TV even a bit.
- Cindy is able to get away with a lot despite the fact she was on a reality TV show that supposedly controlled their environment. On her date with Henry the producers literally said “oh we are just getting B roll and won’t record your convo” LIKE THE BACHELOR WOULD NEVER??? (But, they would say that only to manipulate the audio later
- Not that I want them to be manipulated etc. but like…reality tv isn’t reality.
- Cindy also only got interviewed once?
Overall, I would not recommend this one unless you don’t know anything about reality dating shows and want a super fluffy book with some Cinderella vibes and a fat main character. It does seem that I am in the minority as this book is highly rated on Goodreads.
But, if you want a dating show romance that looks at how manipulated reality TV is and is a way better romance, read The Charm Offensive.