Just a Few Inches follows Carrie, an ordinary high school girl, who wants to lose some weight for prom. Things go horribly wrong when she starts to literally shrink because of the pills.
The idea came to St. Pierre twenty years ago, when she was at the checkout for a drugstore and saw the women’s magazines at the counter. The idea is no less relevant today.
“Right there, the media was showcasing celebrities or models as an ideal way to look. Meanwhile, other magazines had cover stories of new diet fads that claimed to shrink your waistline. Some of those covers showed women who had lost a lot of weight posing inside the now oversized clothes that they used to wear. The juxtaposition of these images, along with the usage of the word shrink, while being inside a drugstore, combined in my end into the seed for a story. What if a teenage girl affected by many of those images turned to a weight loss pill to slim down, but it caused her to literally shrink instead? The pills simply became the catalyst to start the story,” said St. Pierre.
For her, bringing in the more magical element, allowed her to touch on this subject in a way that could even be humorous. As Carrie shrinks, she becomes a media sensation – and St. Pierre could question the role of both traditional media and social media and how they pressure girls to look a certain way.
“Eventually, Carrie shrinks to the size of a fashion doll, and I could posit what role – if any – they play in perpetuating these ideals. I don’t have a cure-all for this issue in society, but I hope that when readers see Carrie’s personal growth as she shrinks, they can relate and see themselves in a brighter and better way.”
Carrie wasn’t the only person St. Pierre hoped readers could relate to. Carrie’s relationship with her two best friends, Trish and Lauren, was very important for St. Pierre.
“Trish is bubbly, fashion-conscious, and social media savvy, while Lauren is somewhat disdainful of all the fuss around fashion and popularity. It’s almost like they’re the two sides of Carrie’s conscience–the metaphorical little angel and devil on her shoulders–but with genuine support for their friend dealing with this incredible predicament.”
For a book dealing with such heavy subjects, St. Pierre hopes that the message it give to the readers is a positive one.
“[A]ccept yourself for the way you are. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, but it shouldn’t be to conform to a societal ideal of beauty. True beauty comes from within, and we can all be incredible people.”