Submitter: I never want to see this !@#$ book again – please burn it when you’re done. Things that make this book unbearable:
- Fat phobia/shaming
- Comparing getting fat to AIDS
- Domestic violence
- Suicide attempts
- Parents split up because kid gets fat
Holly: This is the story of a teen beauty pageant queen who is diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder and gains 100 pounds. Of course, it takes a while for the diagnosis, with various negative and inconclusive tests that lead everyone to assume she’s just “letting herself go.” The story is pretty raw with self-hatred, eating disorders, and all the things Submitter listed above.
This book was actually included in the American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults in 1999. The story eventually comes around to lessons like friendship, loyalty, honesty, and self-acceptance, so there’s a bit of hope in the end. The main character finds out that her parents had problems before she ever started gaining weight – she was just too self-centered to see it. She ends up at a new school where no one knew her before she gained weight, so the friends she makes there are people who actually bother to get to know her.
I’d still weed it. Issues like suicide, domestic violence, eating disorders, and self-image should be treated in teen fiction in a more modern way. Not necessarily watered down on the issues, but definitely amped up on the abundance of options, hope, support, and modern medicine available now. Being a teen in 1998 was different than it is now, and this would be a more meaningful story if it were set twenty years later.