Tuesday, February 19, 2008

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

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

Young Adult Challenge, mini challenge # 4 (read a banned book)
You can't read the title of this book and not be intrigued. It's a quick little read that will make you glad you aren't a teenager anymore. I think of this book as chick-lit for teens.

from the back cover:

Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex. She lives on theWeb, snarfs junk food, and obeys the "Fat Girl Code of Conduct." Then there are the other Shreveses: Mom is an exercise fiend and adolescent psychologist; Dad, when not jet-setting, or golfing in Connecticut, ogles skinny women on TV; and older siblings Byron and Anais are slim, brillian and impossible to live up to.

Delete Virginia and the Shreveses are a picture perfect family... until a phone call changes everything.

It was an eye opener to remember how self conscious and self absorbed teenagers are, even though I work with them everyday. The first part of the book was a little slow as I wanted to shake Virginia and her family as things seemed a little exaggerated. But I would guess there are teenagers who feel like everyone is looking at them and are critical of them. And I liked Virginia, and her growth as she begins to question how perfect everyone is. As an adult, I know they aren't perfect but it's Virginia who thinks they are. Her gradual awakening is done nicely, if somewhat quickly. And that is part of growing up: realizing that you can only control your own thoughts and behaviours and not letting other opinions or perceived opinions affect you. Did the popular people suddenly notice Virginia, or did she stop feeling like they didn't notice her and was open to talking to them? Once her opinion of herself changed, so did the response of other people.
The novel deals with some big issues including a good job on body image, but also touching on self hurting, date rape, eating disorders, and cliques in school. Many young adult novels I've read recently include different technology to get information across, and this novel includes emails and text messages. And yet the same old angst is there, teenagers, and their thoughts and their parents. Oh, and I wanted to slap the mother, adolescent psychologist indeed!


  1. I agree! That is really a good attention-getter.

  2. tink - you don't forget it once you've heard it. And it was good enough not to need a gimmicky title.

  3. I love the title and the book sounds just as good.

  4. Yeah, wasn't the mother AWFUL?! I wanted to slap her, too. This one still wins for one of my favourite titles (I think the Angus, Thongs books win, though) and I did like Virginia. Remembering this one makes me forgive Mackler a bit for last year's pretty bad Guyaholic.

  5. tiny ll - The mother was terrible. I'm going to try Mackler's Vegan, Virgin, Vegetarian next. It's a V title for A - Z books. Hopefully it will be as good as this one was.


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