Monday, September 22, 2008

Big Fat Manifesto-- Sarah Vaught

Is it just me, or does it seem like there is a rise in books about teens with alternative body types? Maybe I am just noticing them more... but it seems like the eating disorder fiction trend has swung a bit from the anorexia-bulimia bend to an overweight-chubby-obese focus. Honestly, I think teens will want to read both types of books, and "issues" fiction has always been popular with the teens I see.

Big Fat Manifesto is a well written book about a girl named Jamie who is fat. She prefers the term fat, and she isn't just a bit overweight... she is at least 300 pounds and comes from a family who is also dealing with weight issues. She is a journalist and starts a column in the school paper to speak honestly about what life is like when you are physically larger than most of the population. Jamie is popular, has a boyfriend, and is an actress (though only gets to play the villain or "character" roles). Jamie's open, honest, blunt, and slightly bitchy voice is really what makes this book enjoyable. Also, there are some heart-wrenching scenes where the reader can really understand how hard life can be when you don't fit into furniture (like the desks at the ACT testing center or airplane seats), clothes (everything in 4X is designed for old ladies), or your friend's car.

Vaught doesn't not glamorize obesity, but she does a great job of making someone who is not obese understand the emotional issues that might go along with being overweight. In our thin-fascinated American (world?) culture, it is easy to poke fun at overweight folks, all in the guise of concern (health! stress on resources! diabetes!). I would be interested in hearing what teens think about this book. As an aside, it is nice to read a book with a severely overweight character who is not 100% ostracized from all things normal... Jamie has friends and a boyfriend, which is not a common thing in other books like this.

Just because:

Here is a brief list of fiction about teens with body issues... overweight, underweight, eating disorders etc. Got some to add? Let me know!

Large and Small: a short booklist of eating disorder fiction


Fat Kid Rules the World-- K.L. Going

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes-- Chris Crutcher

Big Fat Manifesto-- Sarah Vaught

Vibes-- Amy Kathleen Ryan

The Earth, My Butt, and other Big Round Things-- Carolyn Mackler


Mercy, Unbound-- Kim Antieau

Skin-- Adreinne Maria Vrettos

Skinny-- Ibi Kaslik

Lovesick-- Jake Coburn

How I Live Now-- Meg Rossof

Perfect-- Natasha Friend


Ms. Yingling said...

I think they've been around for a while. Maybe a few more recently.
Bennett-- Life in the Fat Lane (1998)
Cooper- The New, Improved Greatch Hubbard (1992)
Kerr-- Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack (1972)
Lynch-- Slot Machine (1992)
Paley- Huge (2008)
Smith- Jelly Belly (1981)
Strasser- How I Changed My Life (1995)
Barr- Emily's Secret (1997)
Carlson- Faded Denim
Friend- Perfect (2004)
Gottlieb- Stick Figure (2000)
Levenkron- Best Little Girl in the World (1978)
Newman- Fat Chance(1994)
Ruckman- Hunger Scream
Wilson- Girls Under Pressure (2002)

♥nervosa♥ said...

Love Sick - good but not life changing. It's just a little story that doesn't seem all that significant to me. Although I did like that they were both fighting addictions and that she fit the more 'stereotypical' bulimic :)
Skinny - was hard to read. The ending was very vague.
Stick Figure - I really liked that one. It was like reading my own childhood (though my ED didn't fully bloom till I was 15) I would def. read it again.

Perfect & Best Little Girl in the World are definitely on my reading list though.