*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Fat pig. Fat pig. Fat pig.
I let Jace’s ugly words roll around in my head while I try to tear myself away from the bathroom mirror. They echo throughout my mind, waking up feelings of self-hatred and disgust. I feel my soul sinking the longer I stare at the hideous figure in the toothpaste splattered mirror, but I can’t make myself look away.
Can’t seem to shut off the voices from the past.
I came home from work early, only to find someone else’s lithe arms coiled around his chest like a white snake. Upon seeing me in the doorway, her arms slithered off his skin as she sprang off the bed.
He rose, half-dressed. Stood next to her in solidarity. The fear in her eyes was absent from his defiant glare.
Normally, I’m able to weaponize my destructive thoughts, normally able to use them as some sick form of ‘motivation’ to drag myself to the gym every morning.
But today is August 3rd. The Anniversary
Two words have haunted Crystal for years: fat pig.
So when a handsome and athletic stranger promises that his gym will change her life, how can she say no? With its cutting-edge facilities, beyond-friendly staff, and endless free samples of Ambrosia, their signature energizing sports drink, Mount Olympus seems too perfect to be real—and maybe it is. Crystal needs it all, but is she willing to lose more than just weight?
Ambrosia is a stark tale of self-hatred, guilt, regret, and body image that follows the story of Crystal, a woman who has long struggled with her weight and loving herself. Predisposed to believe that she deserves to be punished and hurt, Mount Olympus, the new and exotic gym in town that have graciously slashed their prices just for her, is primed to draw her in. As Crystal becomes more and more obsessed with working out, she also starts to see that she is not the only one spending every waking hour in the gym. Having pushed away any family or friends she had, there is no one around to pull her out of her addiction, so when she begins to lose a lot more than bodyweight, she has to pull herself out of this hell hole.
A novel that tackles difficult events and emotions, Ambrosia is a story that I think most can relate to, if not at least most women. The pressure to lose weight, to work harder, to repress unpleasant memories and focus on ‘goals’ on the ‘hussle’ of our new lives is a constant pressure. To always be better, stronger, and more in control. Crystal, our protagonist, falls fast, but it’s a fall we can all recognise. Her past and her struggles are universally tragic as well as the buttons pressed to pull her into this well-crafted business of despair.
Wheatley’s writing is in the moment, it is honest and raw, and gives an urgency to Crystal’s muddled brain that brings a realism to the surreal events that are happening. Wheatley uses her writing to confront the irony of a complete body overhaul, only to find out that your mind is still the same. You can’t wipe away a traumatising past with any amount of treadmill miles.
Using imagined horrors to reflect the true horrors of our daily lives, Ambrosia will have you running a fine tooth comb through every gym membership contract you see.
About the Author –
Madison Wheatley is a poet and speculative young adult/new adult writer from Jackson, TN. Since her graduation from Harding University in 2014, she has been teaching middle school and high school English Language Arts. Her poetry has been published in Seltzer (2014) and Cave Region Review (2014), and she is a contributing author in Seven Deadly Sins, A YA Anthology: Avarice (2018) and Secrets in Our Cities (2018). Her debut novel Ambrosia, a new adult paranormal thriller, was released by Authors 4 Authors Publishing on October 13, 2019. You can find her through her Twitter or Instagram.
Read and Review –