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Full disclosure: I've had body image issues since high school.

While I wasn't overly concerned with what I ate, I joined nearly every sport I could manage, which resulted in running several miles each and every day. Even when I was at the top of my game, so to speak, I thought I was "too fat" and lamented my body to anyone who would listen. College was even worse, because I had no sports to keep me in shape. Instead of the "freshman 15," I gained the "freshman 50."

"Eat, and Love Yourself" is a graphic novel that explores body image struggles.

Our protagonist, Mindy, purchases the latest in diet products in an attempt to fit the ideal she has in her head. When she makes an impulse purchase of a chocolate bar called "Eat, and Love Yourself," Mindy is transported, with every piece of chocolate she eats, to a moment in her past that defined her. And in doing so, she must confront the person in the mirror, and learn to love the body she inhabits.

Following Mindy's journey was a great way to think about my own past and how I looked at my body before and after my weight gain. The book itself has lush illustrations and is decently paced. It also takes a good, long look at body culture, and how our society does or does not accept folks who do not fit the "ideal" shape.

Mindy is a thoughtful and vulnerable person, and she learns to overcome not only the opinions of others but her own internalized, negative opinions as well. "Eat, and Love Yourself" has a simple message in the end: Love your body for itself, and learn to accept that love from others, too.

I highly recommend this book.

Megan Mehmert is a programming associate at the Missouri River Regional Library.

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