Friday, February 27
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Grade 7-10-Sophomore Virginia Shreves lives in Manhattan and attends a prestigious private school. She lives by her Fat Girl Code of Conduct. She has a budding romance with Froggy the Fourth, but she doesn't want his wandering hands to feel her fat. Her baggy clothing helps her to "hide." Her mother, Dr. Phyllis Shreves, is an adolescent psychologist obsessed with her imperfect daughter's weight, and her father is rarely around. Her older sister joined the Peace Corps to escape mom, and brother Byron is big man on the Columbia campus-until he's suspended for date rape. Finally, Virginia stands up to her mother and takes charge of her life. Strong points in the novel are the issue of date rape and its consequences and, however glossed over, eating disorders. Parental pressure is overdone. Mom and dad are stereotypical of adults so involved in themselves that they cannot see their child for who she is. Some passages are very well done, but the book has an uneven quality in prose style and character development. Told through first-person narrative, journal entries, and e-mail, Virginia's story will interest readers who are looking for one more book with teen angst, a bit of romance, and a kid who is a bit like them or their friends.