February 21, 2014

Book Review: Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum

At First Sight: Colby is the odd girl out in her family, she's overweight and, unlike her sisters, she takes after her father (a former football player) rather than her mother (a former Miss Texas). Yet, Colby is often pushed into the spotlight as part of her father's senatorial camping - which is running on a family values platform. 

Until the day Colby finds out a big secret about her father -that he's having an affair with another woman - and the Feds come knocking around, inquiring about where the money for the campaign is actually coming from. 

In one day, Colby's life is turned upside down with her father leaving and her mother deciding to move them to a small town, where they are taken in by Colby's Aunt and her son Ryan - who really doesn't want them there. 

There, Colby's size swells even more, along with her mother's contempt for her. She gets blamed for everything: the changes in their situation, going from a mansion to a trailer, the lack of money and her father's indifference. And even when Ryan makes a cruel video of Colby struggling to get dressed and said video ends up online, she gets blamed for that too. 

Second Glance: Big Fat Disaster is a mess. 

The tone of the book is all over the place, at first I thought it was going to be about a fat chick getting her groove back and finding her self respect (It wasn't), then I thought it was about Colby finally being accepted by her mother and sisters (Not It), then I thought it was going to be about Colby finding her self and her inner strength in Pine Creek with the help of her cool Bakery owner aunt, and her cousin Ryan -This calls for a Hell to the No! - then it turned dark - bullying, suicides and death, oh my! - and then it was just meh. 

Not a single person in this book was likable or even two dimensional, everyone came off as cruel, annoying, bitter or just stupid. Colby didn't fare any better even though this story was from her perspective. We were supposed to care she had an eating disorder (Binge Eating) and feel for her because her mom was a psycho, but really... she was just as annoying as the rest of them. 

Yet, the worse thing about this book is that EVERYONE FREAKING GETS AWAY WITH IT!
After all the stuff that goes down, things pretty much end where they started, Colby is supposed to be getting some help by then but that was TOO LITTLE TOO LATE, everyone is still sticking to the status quo, and the main relationship dynamics haven't changed one bit - Colby's mom still hates her, her sisters still think she's a waste of space and Colby still cares that they think that. 

Bottom Line: There was one way for this book to work out: For Colby to come out of it triumphantly, or at least with a bit of strength or hope, but this just doesn't happen - I'm not convinced she's going to be OK by the end, either. I don't mean question or demean the author's intent or her experiences -from the author's note I gather some of the stuff (or at least the inspiration for the book) came from real-life events - but her execution does more harm than good. 

No Stars for this one. 

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