“I don’t know why I thought love would be so painful. It only hurt because it was wrong.”
Martha Aguas kind of has it all–she’s an accountant who loves numbers, an accident-prone puppy that loves her, and the perfect wardrobe.
Yes, she wears a dress size 24, her bras don’t fit and she’s never had a boyfriend, but so what?
It becomes a big deal when her perfect cousin Regina announces her engagement to Enzo, the only boy she’s ever loved (he doesn’t know, so don’t tell him!) Suddenly Aguases from all corners of the globe are coming for the event, and the last thing Martha wants is to be asked why she still prefers her lattes with a waffle on the side.
Thank god for Max. Goofy, funny, dependable Max, who finds himself playing the fake boyfriend at the family festivities. But why does it feel like only one of them is pretending? (Goodreads)
I know I don’t read enough of the romance genre. That is why I am so glad to discover #romanceclass last year–an awesome community of Filipino writers and readers who love the genre. If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman is my second #romanceclass book and again it did not fail to give me the feels! I have two or three still unread in my shelves and already planning to get more. I have included some of their titles in our book club’s Valentine book exchange. 💖
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves to read romance, and the falling-for-my-bestfriend trope. But aside from the cute and/or steamy scenes, my main takeaway is the book’s message on body positivity and self-love.
I’ve had issues with my body image since forever. I have been told that I was too thin, not thin enough, chubby, or unrecognizably fat. It does not help that being a Filipino means that it’s normal for anyone to comment on your weight or physical appearance. It’s one of the really annoying Filipino-isms that I can gladly live without.
“Having my body broken down into numbers just reminded me how far from the norm I was.”
The only time that I felt I really loved my body was when I was running marathons, and it had nothing to do with my weight or my waistline. I just love how tuned in I am with how my body performs and how I can really feel the strength of my lungs and my muscles. Also, runner’s high is real, guys!!
However, it has been 3 years since my last run. I haven’t had a chance to go back since I gave birth to my son. My source of pride then switched from my race medals to how I am able to nourish my baby through breastfeeding. I haven’t been able to go back to my pre-baby weight and I don’t have the time and energy to really work on it. I am trying to accept that I look fine just as I am, but it’s been so hard.
“I was more than my size, and I knew that. Why didn’t anyone else?”
That is why, I appreciate all the help I can get towards my journey back to self-love. This lovely book by Carla de Guzman has been a helpful step towards the right direction. It is full of positivity towards accepting my body and the conflicted feelings I may have towards it. It really helped me confront the shame I am feeling towards myself, and really question it–where is this coming from and do I really deserve this?
Let me share one of my favorite parts at the beginning of the book, where I simply knew I would love our heroine:
“My relationship with food was long, simple, and absolutely delicious. My relationship with my weight was a little more complicated. I carried it around, and I was good at making it look effortless. It wasn’t something I loved or hated, it was just a fact that I accepted. I know I’m supposed to ‘love my size’, and I did. But forgive me for not being totally happy with it 24/7.”
I really think we could be BFFs!
I love all the yummy description of Pinoy (another word for Filipino) food and I enjoyed reading about the lives of the upper class: the comforts, the beautiful houses and the glittering parties. Martha’s family is also the classic Pinoy family–meaning they are all super nice but also very demanding at the same time. The book celebrates Filipino culture and I really felt right at home.
“She has to be my best friend. That’s all you ever want in your person, right?”
So now let’s talk about the romance ✨ Our hero Max is dreamy–he’s a voracious reader, an adorable veterenarian and an old soul. He’s almost a unicorn because a guy like this is really hard to find. He read The Goldfinch! My goodness, marry him already, right!?
Martha is smart, confident and she makes things happen. She knows her worth and she knows it has nothing to do with her weight or body shape. She’s a generous person who always put others’ needs before her own; sometimes too much and to the point of forgetting to think of herself. It is a pleasure to see Martha’s journey into Max’s arms and find herself in the process. We all deserve to find our own happiness and to be with someone who will worship us like the goddess that we are.
“I’m actually happy with my weight, even though it’s hard to believe. I like that I can work it, because it’s mine. Everyone makes me feel so guilty for it, like there’s something wrong with me. But come on. I look amazing. And honestly? I don’t say it enough. I LOOK AMAZING.”
Overall Rating: 4/5⭐️
About the Author
If you ask Carla what she does for a living, she will tell you that she’s not quite sure.
By day, she works a regular day job and writes for a lifestyle website. By night, she’s an author and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk and making these silly love stories. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family.
She’s currently on a quest to see as many Impressionist paintings as she can, and is always in search of the perfect pain au chocolat.
Visit her website here.
#romanceclass is a community of:
• Authors who attended #romanceclass, #romanceclass2016, the steamy reads, YA classes organized by Mina V. Esguerra
• Readers of the books by those authors
• Readers of English-language romance books by Filipino authors
• Actors and artists who are part of the event and publishing process
We are a community of Filipino writers and readers who gather together to do what we love. Quoting from Mina V. Esguerra:
“The #romanceclass community of authors is a group that came out of the free class I ran in 2013, meant to encourage Filipino readers of chick lit and contemporary romance to start writing and publishing their own stories. “romanceclass” was the hashtag used to informally discuss things with each other over Twitter, and it stuck. That time, 100 people signed up, and 16 authors completed a contemporary romance novella. They’ve since gone on to write more, publish, get publishing deals…and we continue to support each other on social media and everywhere else.”
Visit their website here.