Jemima J.

Jemima J.

by Jane Green


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Jemima Jones is overweight. About one hundred pounds overweight. Treated like a maid by her thin and social-climbing roommates, and lorded over by the beautiful Geraldine (less talented but better paid) at the Kilburn Herald, Jemima finds that her only consolation is food. Add to this her passion for her charming, sexy, and unobtainable colleague Ben, and Jemima knows her life is in need of a serious change. When she meets Brad, an eligible California hunk, over the Internet, she has the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself–as JJ, the slim, beautiful, gym-obsessed glamour girl. But when her long-distance Romeo demands that they meet, she must conquer her food addiction to become the bone-thin model of her e-mails–no small feat.
With a fast-paced plot that never quits and a surprise ending no reader will see coming, Jemima J is the chronicle of one woman's quest to become the woman she's always wanted to be, learning along the way a host of lessons about attraction, addiction, the meaning of true love, and, ultimately, who she really is.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780753173879
Publisher: ISIS Large Print Books
Publication date: 10/28/2005
Series: Isis Hardcover Series
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 488
Product dimensions: 6.48(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.28(d)

About the Author

Jane Green worked for many years as a journalist, with occasional forays into public relations for film, television, and the odd celebrity. The author of three other novels, Straight Talking, Mr. Maybe (Broadway Books, 2001), and Bookends (Broadway Books, 2002), she lives outside of New York City with her husband and son.


Westport, Connecticut

Date of Birth:

May 31, 1968

Place of Birth:

London, England


"Managed to drop out of Fine Art Degree at University."

Read an Excerpt

chapter 1

God, I wish I were thin.

I wish I were thin, gorgeous, and could get any man I want. You probably think I'm crazy, I mean here I am, sitting at work on my own with a massive double-decker club sandwich in front of me, but I'm allowed to dream aren't I?

Half an hour to go of my lunchbreak. Half an hour in which to drool over the latest edition of my favorite magazine. Don't get me wrong, I don't read the features, why would I? Thousands of words about how to keep your man, how to spice up your sex life, how to spot if he's being unfaithful are, quite frankly, irrelevant to me. I'll be completely honest with you here, I've never had a proper boyfriend, and the cover lines on the magazines are not the reason I buy them.

If you must know, I buy them, all of them, for the pictures. I sit and I study each glossy photograph for minutes at a time, drinking in the models' long, lithe limbs, their tiny waists, their glowing golden skin. I have a routine: I start with their faces, eyeing each sculpted cheekbone, heart-shaped chin, and I move slowly down their bodies, careful not to miss a muscle.

I have a few favorites. In the top drawer of my chest of drawers in my bedroom at home is a stack of cut-out pictures of my top supermodels, preferred poses. Laetitia's there for her sex appeal, Christy's there for her lips and nose, and Cindy's there for the body.

And before you think I'm some kind of closet lesbian, I've already told you the one thing I would wish for if I rubbed a lamp and a gorgeous, bare-chested genie suddenly appeared. If I had one wish in all the world I wouldn't wish to win the lottery. Nor would I wish for true love. No, if I hadone wish I would wish to have a model's figure, probably Cindy Crawford's, and I would extend the wish into having and keeping a model's figure, no matter what I eat.

Because, tough as it is to admit to a total stranger, I, Jemima Jones, eat a lot. I catch the glances, the glares of disapproval on the occasions I eat out in public, and I try my damnedest to ignore them. Should someone, some "friend'' trying to be caring and sharing, question me gently, I'll tell them I have a thyroid problem, or a gland problem, and occasionally I'll tack on the fact that I have a super-slow metabolism as well. Just so there's no doubt, just so people don't think that the only reason I am the size I am is because of the amount I eat.

But you're not stupid, I know that, and, given that approximately half the women in the country are a size 14, I would ask you to try and understand about my secret binges, my constant cravings, and see that it's not just about food.

You don't need to know much about my background, suffice to say that my childhood wasn't happy, that I never felt loved, that I never got over my parents' divorce as a young child, and that now, as an adult, the only time I feel really comforted is when I seek solace in food.

So here I am now, at twenty-seven years old, bright, funny, warm, caring and kind. But of course people don't see that when they look at Jemima Jones. They simply see fat.

Unfortunately they don't see what I see when I look in the mirror. Selective visualization, I think I'll call it. They don't see my glossy light brown hair. They don't see my green eyes, they don't see my full lips. Not that they're anything amazing, but I like them, I'd say they were my best features.

They don't notice the clothes either, because, despite weighing far, far more than I should, I don't let myself go, I always make an effort. I mean, look at me now. If I were slim, you would say I look fantastic in my bold striped trousers and long tunic top in a perfectly matching shade of orange. But no, because of the size I am people look at me and think, "God, she shouldn't wear such bright colors, she shouldn't draw attention to herself.''

But why shouldn't I enjoy clothes? At least I'm not telling myself that I won't bother shopping until I'm a size 10, because naturally my life is a constant diet.

We all know what happens with diets. The minute you cut out certain foods, the cravings overtake you until you can't see straight, you can't think properly, and the only way to get rid of the craving is to have a bite of chocolate, which soon turns into a whole bar.

And diets don't work, how can they? It's a multi-million-dollar industry, and if any of the diets actually worked the whole caboodle would go down the toilet.

If anyone knows how easy it is to fail it's me. The Scarsdale, the High Fiber, the Atkins Diet, the six eggs a day diet, Slimfast, Weight Watchers, Herbalife, slimming pills, slimming drinks, slimming patches. You name them, I've been the idiot that tried them. Although some have, admittedly, been more successful than others.

But I have never, even with the help of all these diets, been slim. I have been slimmer, but not slim.

I know you're watching me now with pity in your eyes as I finish my sandwich and look furtively around the office to see whether anyone is looking. It's okay, the coast is clear, so I can pull open my top drawer and sneak out the slab of chocolate hiding at the back. I tear the bright orange wrapper and silver foil off and stuff it into the dustbin beneath my desk, as it's far easier to hide a slab of dull brown chocolate than the glaring covering that encases it.

I take a bite. I savor the sweet chocolate in my mouth as it melts on my tongue, and then I take another bite, this time furiously chewing and swallowing, hardly tasting a thing. Within seconds the entire bar has disappeared, and I sit there feeling sick and guilty.

I also feel relieved. My bad food for today has just been eaten, which means that there's none left. Which means that tonight, when I get home and have a salad, which is what I'm now planning to eat for dinner, I can feel good, and I can start my diet all over again.

I glance at the clock and sigh. Another day in my humdrum life, but it shouldn't be humdrum. I'm a journalist, for God's sake. Surely that's a glamorous, exciting existence?

Unfortunately not for me. I long for a bit of glamour, and, on the rare occasions I do glance at the features in the magazines I flick through, I think that I could do better.

I probably could, as well, except I don't have the experience to write about men being unfaithful, but if I had, Jesus, I'd win awards, because I am, if I say so myself, an expert with words.

I love the English language, playing with words, watching sentences fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but sadly my talents are wasted here at the Kilburn Herald.

I hate this job. When I meet new people and they ask what I do for a living, I hold my head up high and say I'm a journalist. I then try to change the subject, for the inevitable question after that is "Who do you work for?'' I hang my head low, mumble the Kilburn Herald, and, if I'm really pushed, I'll hang it even lower and confess that I do the Top Tips column.

Every week I'm flooded with mail from sad and lonely people in Kilburn with nothing better to do than write in with questions like, "What's the best way to bleach a white marbled lino floor that's turned yellow?'' and "I have a pair of silver candlesticks inherited from my grandmother. The silver is now tarnished, any suggestions?'' And every week I sit for hours on the bloody phone ringing lino manufacturers, silver-makers, and, apologizing for taking up their time, ask them for the answers.

This is my form of journalism. Every now and then I have to write a feature, usually a glorified press release, a bit of PR puff that has to be used to fill some space, and oh how I revel in this seemingly unexciting job. I pull the press release to pieces and start again. If my colleagues, the news reporters and feature writers that mill around me, bothered to read what I'd written they would see my masterful turn of phrase.

It's not as if I haven't tried to move up in the world of journalism. Every now and then when boredom threatens to render me completely incompetent, I drag myself into the editor's office and squeeze into a chair, producing these few cuts and asking for a chance. In fact today yet another meeting is due.

"Jemima,'' says the editor, leaning back in his chair, putting his feet on the table and puffing on a cigar, "why would you want to be a news reporter?''

"I don't,'' I say, restraining myself from rolling my eyes, because every time I come in here we seem to have the same conversation. "I want to write features.''

"But Jemima, you do such a wonderful job on Top Tips. Honestly, love, I don't know where we'd be without you.''

"It's just that it's not exactly journalism, I want to write more.''

"We all have to start at the bottom,'' he says, the beginning of his regular monologue, as I think, yes, and you're still there, this isn't the Guardian, it's the Kilburn bloody Herald.

"Do you know how I started?''

I mutely shake my head, thinking, yes, you were a bloody tea boy for the Solent Advertiser.

"I was a bloody tea boy for the Solent Advertiser.'' And on, and on, and on he goes.

The conversation ends the same way too. "There may well be a vacancy on features coming up,'' he says with a conspiratorial wink. "Just keep on working hard and I'll see what I can do.''

And so I sigh, thank him for his time and maneuver myself out of the narrow chair. Just before I get to the door, the editor says, "By the way, you are taking that class aren't you?''

I turn to look at him in confusion. Class? What class? "You know,'' he adds, seeing I don't know what he's talking about. "Computers, Internet, World Wide Web. We're going on the line and I want everyone in the office to attend.''

On the line? Doesn't he mean online, I think as I walk out with a smile on my face. The editor, desperate to show off his street credibility, has once again proved he's still living in the 1980s. It's about time we got Web access at the office.

I march back to my desk passing the news reporters, all busy on the phone, my eyes cast downwards as I pass my secret heartthrob. Ben Williams is the deputy news editor. Tall, handsome, he is also the office Lothario. He may not be able to afford Armani, this being, as it is, the Kilburn Herald, but his suits fit his highly toned body, his muscular thighs so perfectly, they may as well be.

Ben Williams is secretly fancied by every woman at the Kilburn Herald, not to mention the woman in the shop where he buys his paper every morning, the woman in the sandwich bar who follows his stride longingly as he walks past every lunchtime. Yeah. Don't think I hadn't noticed.

Ben Williams is gorgeous, no two ways about it. His light brown hair is floppy in that perfectly arranged way, casually hanging over his left eye, his eyebrows perfectly arched, his dimples when he smiles in exactly the right place. Of course he is well aware of the effect he has on women, but underneath all the schmooze beats a heart of gold, but don't tell him I told you. He wouldn't want anyone to know that.

He is the perfect combination of handsome hunk and vulnerable little boy, and the only woman who isn't interested in him is Geraldine. Geraldine, you see, is destined for greater things. Geraldine is my only friend at the paper, although Geraldine might not agree with that, because after all we don't socialize together after work, but we do have little chats, Geraldine perched prettily on the edge of my desk as I silently wish I looked like her.

And we do often have lunch together, frequently with Ben Williams, which is both painful and pleasurable, in equal measure, for me. Pleasurable because I live for those days when he joins us, but painful because I turn into an awkward fourteen-year-old every time he comes near. I can't even look at him, let alone talk to him, and the only consolation is that when he sits down my appetite disappears.

I suspect he thinks I'm rather sweet, and I'm sure he knows I've got this ridiculous crush on him, but I doubt he spends much time thinking about me, not when Geraldine's around.

Geraldine started here at about the same time as me, and the thing that really kills me is that I started as a graduate trainee, and Geraldine started as a secretary, but who's the one who gets to write features first? Exactly.

It's not that I'm completely cynical, but with her gleaming blond hair in a chic bob, her tiny size 8 figure squeezed into the latest fashions, Geraldine may not have an ounce of talent, but the men love her, and the editor thinks she's the biggest asset to the paper since, well, since himself.

And the thing that kills me even more is that Geraldine is the one woman here that Ben deems worthy of his attentions. Geraldine isn't interested, which makes it just about bearable. Sure, in a vaguely detached way she can appreciate Ben's good looks, his charm, his charisma, but please, he works at the Kilburn Herald, and by that fact alone would never be good enough for Geraldine.

Geraldine only goes out with rich men. Older, richer, wiser. Her current boyfriend has, amazingly, lasted eight months, which is a bit of a record for her, and Geraldine seems serious, which Ben can't stand. I, on the other hand, love hearing what I think of as "Geraldine stories.'' Geraldine is the woman I wish I was.

For now I settle down in my chair and pick up the phone to call the local veterinary practice.

"Hello,'' I say in my brightest telephone voice. "This is Jemima Jones from the Kilburn Herald. Would you have any idea how to remove the smell of cat spray from a pair of curtains?''

From the eBook edition.

Copyright 2001 by Jane Green

Customer Reviews

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Jemima J. 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 528 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a overweight girl, i could relate to jemima in many ways. i saw that many people wrote bad reviews saying that the author made it seem like being fat or overweight was a horrible thing, but you know what, it's not the author who created this, it's actually the way the world and the society is today. for me, i was luck to find a loving boyfriend who loves me the way i am. but before when i was single, it was not easy going out to clubs with my skinny girlfriends and fell like i was total invisible, nobody danced with me or talked with me. now tell me? is it really the author who is making up horrible stories? i dont think so. i am going to have a weight loss surgery soon, and i am sure that after that my life will change, i admit, i am an unhappy fat girl!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Intriguing story has you cheering for our heroine. This book will motivate and entertain you.
risuena More than 1 year ago
This book started off a little slow, but it got more interesting as you read it. This is probably the third book I've read that deals with weight problems. It's definitely an engaging story, but I'm not sure I enjoy reading all aspects of it. First, I was bothered by how skinny Jemima got and hoped that she didn't end the book this way, which would prove how much "better" it was to be skinny. Second, I wasn't sure Ben, the main male character, was any better than the California hunk Jemima met; the book made Ben out to be a "better" man, more likable, but I felt otherwise. It took her weight loss to make him see her differently, and though you see him think of her throughout the book, this sudden revelation of his feelings turning doesn't ultimately happen until he sees her skinny. The situation with the Californian was very ironic, made me pity him and sad to think how much our environment regards "fat" people and affects our choices in life. On the other hand, I do enjoy stories about finally ending up with the man of your dreams and finding oneself, to be comfortable with who you are, and have a good balance with everything in your life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great feel good book. I was truly sad it ended. The book is inspiring for any woman who felt "not good enough."
Amber Rhea More than 1 year ago
Anyone would be silly not to purchase this book! Couldnt stop reading!!!! Wish there would be a jemima j book 2 :)
Miranda.Bouck More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down! I read it in three days but would have read it straight through if the sun would have stayed up a bit longer...silly me for not bringing a light with me in the car ride home. It's a VERY easy read and the writing style is SO easy to get along with. I've been recommending this book left and right and am finding myself asking what happens after the book ends! I plan on picking up another Jane Green book VERY SOON! This has easily become a member of my permanent collection. LOVE I!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive read this book at least 5 times. Love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book years ago and it still remains one of my favorite books! If you are looking for a chick lit romance filled with humor...then this is the book for you :) The main character has a few extra pounds on her which she find difficult to lose. She eventually sticks to a diet, in hopes that weight lost will lead her to meet Mr. Right. Well, she does meet someone...and you will just have to read the book to find out what happens! There is a HUGE hilarious ending that will not disappoint anyone. ENJOY!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book at least once a year. I wish it would be turned into a movie! I enjoy everything about it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Upon the recommendation from a stranger I sat next to on a flight to Florida I bought this book (my first Jane Green novel) and was immediately drawn into the world of Jemima Jones. At times, I felt I was reading about myself and just had to keep on going. The second half of the novel is one of the most riveting things I have read in a long time and I literally could not put it down. I am definitely going to check out the other stories that Jane Green has to offer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book when i was in 8th grade and i remembered it being one of my favorite books. I was so happy to find it again. Now that i have read it again now that im much older, i can still say i enjoyed it. I also think that i have a new take on it and though i never had an issue with my weight i truely can relate with JJ about the love we all want to find and how it feels being judged by the people around you before they truely get to know you. A book that i fully intend on recommending to all my friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book, couldn't put it down. Felt like I really knew the characters which is something I love in a novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was somewhat disappointed in this book and I found the writing style a tad bit difficult to keep up with. As far the story goes, I thought it started out realistic until she dropped nearly 100 pounds in a matter of months and now has a 'model' body. I also had a hard time liking the main character Jemima, I thought she was incredibly ridiculous always worrying about everyone else around her, everything in her life revolved around her size. In addition to that annoying bit, the author made it seem like she was HUGE, she was slightly over 200 pounds standing at 5'7, I know that's not skinny by any means but I pictured Jemima as being the size of Big-Momma-I-need-oxygen-kind of big. A the whole situation with Mr. Romeo in California was super awkward and a little unrealistic to go to a new country on vacation and agree to stay for months. Seemed a bit far-fetched. Altogether not a bad book, a quick read truthfully. I really liked the plot I just feel that it could have been much better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I think it is a book that you could read over and over again. I have many times!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was looking for a book to read for a flight, grabbed a paperback copy of this one in a hurry and was pleasantly surprised! Definitely a feel good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because the review I read sounded promising, but what do those reviewers know anyway??? At first the book seemed enjoyable, but then when Jemima or her alter ego, JJ is skinny, she becomes this vain superficial little woman who just can't believe that she is so skinny. She just goes on and on about the clothes she wears and how perfect her body is, and how all the men stare at her. This was ok when she first got skinny and got a make over by her friend Geraldine, but it got real old real fast about what outfit she was going to be wearing and how all the men stared at her. And come on, how many people actually have all that sex that she and Brad were having??? It is just way too much. I know that this is fiction, but come on, I don't need my books spoon fed to me. I would read this if you are not too picky about what you want to read, but if you are looking with something better than lumpy mashed potatoes that are stone cold, try another book. Overall, a waste of my b&n in store credit.
Ohhvictoriaa 3 months ago
I could not put this book down. It is so good, especially as someone who knows that feeling, wanting to look different, skinnier. The ending will surprise you.
DivineMissW on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book, very funny, perfect for sharing with your friends! Every woman will see a part of herself in the main character.
clbnolan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book many years ago but still return to it when I need cheering up. Its never going to be a work of much importance...but for great, easy read, chick-lit, you can't go far wrong!!Like eating a whole tub of Ben & Jerrys all to yourself....sweet & indulgent.
CityLove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is ok. I was really rooting for the character... but the love story lacked chemistry.
kikianika on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lots of people told me this book was good. And it is. In the beginning, I found it a bit hard to get into, because it's, well, dated. It talks about this fantastic new thing called the 'internet' (the book was first published in '98, I believe), and I found the marvel a bit hard to appreciate (since by then, I had been through 2 years of serious PIU syndrome. Does anybody even remember Permanent Internet Useage as a psychological problem? I do...). But the issues addressed in the book are handled well, I thought. Even though I found the weight loss described in the book rather unrealistic (your skin only stretches back so far, no matter how much you work out), and I thought it a bit sad that the extreme loss of excess fat seemed to be the ultimate cause of all happiness (even though JJ comes back to a more helathy weight AFTER the happiness found her), it was still a good read. The other book by Jane Green I read, bookends, gave me a similar half-satisfied feeling. I should read back to my comments about it and compare the two. Some time. All in all, I'd still recommend it, even though it is dated now.
sambina8051 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one was okay. Typical girlie book. Sadly, it hasn't made me really want to pick up any of her other books.
lyz94 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jemima was a little confusing to read, it kept switching from first person to third person. Although it has got me thinking that maybe I need to become obsessed with working out so I'll get super skinny and the love of my life.
Fantasma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was really disapointed with this book. Maybe because my expectations were high, but I don't think that was all.I love chick lit and am used to "fairy-tale" situations and things like that, but this book just seemed too unreal to me. What, it's all that easy!? The ending was tottaly predictable, and I didn't like that Jemima had to become thin so the love of her life would fall in love with her. Shallow, no? I also disliked the writing style, sometimes it really annoyed me. It took me a while to read it as I was strugling with it, the last 150 pages weren't so bad, at least the story was moving and going somewhere! No need for almost 400 pages of this story...
katiemo2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow, after reading this book, it totally changed me and how I felt after I was done. If it were only real. Its a shame that Green has not made a 2nd Jemima J. But, nevertheless, this book was incredible! I guess you could go as far to say that it really speaks for itself. :) I would MOST definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It had me reading in total shock, that I could not even put it down. I would recommend this book to adult audiences only (Age 17 and up)