Book Review: I am Delilah By Josi S. Kilpack

I was given an advanced copy of I am Delilah in exchange for an honest review.

Content Warning: slut-shaming, body-shaming, eating disorders, light religious content.

When I began reading this book, I was in a very neutral place about the main characters, Sam and Delilah. That didn't last long. Let's start with Sam, the male lead. His character is a rich, entitled Hollywood actor. I expected to hate him, but had a lot of respect for his growth throughout the story. I found Sam to be flawed, but relatable and dynamic. This is in complete opposition to the title female character, Delilah, whom I found to be incredibly judgmental and mean. Her self-righteous attitude is insufferable. She has no intention to learn, grow or become a better person because she has a moral superiority complex. She takes it upon herself to teach lessons ("That's to keep you humble...") so that everyone can be as good as she perceives herself. Delilah is also into slut-shaming and body-shaming in the name of righteousness, which made her downright unlikable to me. She's a mean, immature girl, not at all the "woman of integrity" she believes herself to be. A "woman of integrity" would exhibit far more empathy and compassion than this character was capable of feeling. A few examples of Delilah's despicable behavior:


  • "I have no intention of showing up at the Oscar's dressed like a hooker."
  • "...letting it all hang out in a dress like that tells the world that my body is the best I have to offer." 


  • "You're used to anorexic stick women--real women have substance."


  • "Not only was she snotty and rude, but she made it clear that she fully expected him to fail"
  • "...and frankly it's nearly impossible to find a dress in the store that doesn't show too much--if you know what I mean."
  • When Sam asks if Delilah will ever watch any of his movies--"Not if they're all rated R" she said, "Why don't you use your talent to do something good..."
That being said, I liked the story despite strongly disliking the female lead. I enjoyed going on the journey with Sam while reading this book. How Sam came to find Delilah to be "good and pure" is beyond me. She is a horrible person. Righteousness does not equal integrity, goodness or purity. The implication of such, coupled with Delilah's behavior is disturbing. I was not told this book was in the religion genre and I discovered, at the end of the book, that the author appears to be a member of LDS which could explain a lot of the judgmental tones in the book. But, that makes it all the more disappointing because, I'd hope an author injecting religious based morals into a character would focus more on inspiration, compassion and empathy rather than shaming, degradation and moral superiority. Church is mentioned a few times in this book, but nothing too detailed aside from establishing that Delilah's family is faith-based. It's a shame it didn't happen sooner in the story so that it was expected. It may have softened the blow of Delilah's moral viciousness if I was expecting it. Delilah's parents are a part of the story as well and it's implied they all share similar values and morals, and yet no-one else in the book behaves as abhorrently as Delilah. She's the worst.

Minor spelling errors occur throughout the book, but they are only a slight distraction. For example, "sown" was used instead of "sewn", etc.  Early in the book it seemed the author was having trouble switching between third person observer or Delilah or Sam's voice/perspective. This caused some choppy reading, but it smoothed out as the story went on.

I desperately hoped that both characters would come to see that they could learn from the other and become more compassionate and empathetic people. I did not expect any kind of meaningful romance to develop between Sam and Delilah and am relieved it never transpired. I was looking forward to seeing both characters grow in some way, but as the book neared its end and both characters were still acting stubborn, I figured this might not end the way I'd hoped. I feel that the stubbornness carried on too long and made the growth stage seem rushed (yet impactful) for Sam. Delilah, on the other hand, never experiences any kind of meaningful growth and only showed a small about of compassion towards Sam throughout the entire book. Suddenly, Delilah ends up being celebrated and rewarded for her deplorable judgements and behavior. Barf! I'm guessing the author sees Hollywood as some kind of manufacturer of evil and this story was a way to work out her disgust with Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Towards the end of the book, it feels like the author suddenly wanted to create a fantasy world for herself where women who behave as Delilah did are valued more than other women. Unfortunately, a lot of this internalized misogyny may alienate an audience who believes women should support each other in the grand scheme of things instead of degrading others for having different values, a different body, different talents, different goals and a different lifestyle. Delilah's personality made this book difficult to read at times but because she was so terrible, it made me cheer for Sam even more! He was the better person in the long run.

If you think this story sounds interesting or fun based on the book's description, and you are not triggered by any of the subjects mentioned in the content warning at the beginning of this review, you should give it a whirl.

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