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Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
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Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
August 10, 2005
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things--The Book, Not Me
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Carolyn Mackler's Young Adult Tour De Force
Topic: Book Reviews
As a former undernourished-looking child and a current plus-sized 213-lb woman, I loved The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. Don’t take a look at the title and lump this book into the Teen Bridget Jones-Chick Lit category. Although it resembles one of those books of the ever fast growing genre, The Earth…is remarkably insightful, introspective, multi-layered, and well written. Carolyn creates a wonderfully multi-dimensional character in the form of Virginia Shreves.

Virginia is a blond-haired and overweight 15-year old who does not fit in with her over-achieving, athletic, slim, and brown-haired family. Virginia is not only an outsider at school, but an outsider at home as well. Like her mindless eating and magazine reading, she encourages the isolation as shield. If no one can notice her, no one can criticize or tease her about her weight. Virginia even dabbles in self-mutilation to deal with the pain she feels about being a fat girl in world where being thin is in.

Unlike other plus-size heroines, Virginia has a grasp of her sexuality and takes a firmer grasp of it as the novel progresses. Virginia makes out with her unofficial boyfriend, and enjoys it even when the size of her body makes her nervous. She also masturbates and is not ashamed feeling arousal towards boys. Mackler writes these scenes, there are a few but not too many, with careful wording. It is never vulgar or sappy. It is plain and unobtrusive.

A tragedy in Virginia’s family forces her to take charge of her mental, physical, emotional, and social health. By the end of the novel, which I read in little over a day, you’re feeling as energized and as unstoppable as Virginia. The best thing about the book is that Virginia’s boost in attitude has absolutely nothing to do with her weight. (I won’t spoil the ending by tell you whether or not she slims down.)

This is the best book featuring a plus-sized teen girl since Life in the Fat Lane by Cherie Bennett. I recommend it to all teens, regardless of size, struggling with body image and self esteem issues. I also think this book, like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, would make an excellent choice for a Mothers-Daughters Book Club.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 11:23 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: August 10, 2005 11:25 PM EDT

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