February 28, 2009

The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

Round ThingsVirginia Shreves is the odd one out of her perfect, successful, thin and dark haired family (even if her Mom's dark hair is less than 100% natural). See Virginia is larger-than-average, chubby, plump, whatever you want to call it and she has decided to live by the Fat-Girl-Code-of- Conduct, which tells her is perfectly okay for her to fool around with Froggy the Fourth at her apartment ever Monday afternoon and then ignore each other the rest of the week because, of course, he doesn't want to be seen with her. Who would? (I'm compeled to say at this point that Froggy isn't a bad guy, though).

But, in a way, that's the least of her problems: her older sister Anais joined the Peace Corps to escape their mother, her father is always commenting about how good 'thin women' look, her older brother is a rugby god (and Virginia idolizes him); and her mother is a successful teen psychologist who seems fixated on Virginia's weight because she was overweight herself when she was young (even though now she's stick thin and pretty much only eats lettuce and water).

Oh, and her best friend moved to Walla Walla, Washington for the year.

Virginia is routinely either ignored by her parents and brother or criticized because of the way she looks. Driving her to crash diets and binge episodes, as well to a couple of episodes of self-harm.

Things certainly don't get better when her perfect older brother Byron gets expelled from Columbia for date-raping a girl.

It's a lot to cope with but Virginia does it in an admirably way. She had me rooting for her as she began to understand that, because she was always thinking on what she could do to please her parents and brother to earn their approval, she never thought of what she really wanted to do. I loved how she gave an identity to the girl her brother hurt, instead of calling her "that Girl" like the rest of her family, she reminded herself she had a name.

And when she begins to rebel, to make new friends... I found myself saying "You Go Girl!"

I adored this book, I loved how Virginia didn't find easy answers, how it took work for her to be comfortable in her own skin; how her best friend stayed true to her even if they were so far apart. And how she emerged, curves and all, as a strong, young woman, ready to shake the world when she thought she had something to say.


starstarstarstarstarPersonal Favorite

PS! Happy Cameo apereance of two characters from Love and Other Four-Letter Words, Carolyn Mackler's first book, which was very much welcome!

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