- book cover, courtesy of Bloomsbury USA
Big Fat Manifesto
Big Fat Manifesto
Big Fat Manifesto would not be found in the stacks of pagan or spiritual fiction at your local public library. It should, however, be set in a place of prominence in the Young Adult Wonderful Controversial Feminist section. And if there isnt such a section at your library, there should be.
Jamie Caracterra, the protagonist of BFM, is a goddess in her own right. A brilliant high-school senior, shes working very hard to win the National Feature Award for outstanding journalism promoting the public well-being, which is a scholarship to the college journalism program of the winners choice. And shes fat.
Jamie has all the dreams, anxieties, fun and friends that most high school seniors have. And shes fat.
But Jamie is not a quiet, Im sorry Im fat kind of girl and she begins a column in the school newspaper called Fat Girl Manifesto. In her debut column she says, I am so sick of reading books and articles about fat girls written by skinny women. Or worse yet, skinny guys. She proclaims, Im a fat girl! And Im not just any fat girl. Im THE fat girl, baby. She proceeds to present five fat girl myths she means to write about and shoot down. They are:
Myth Number One: Speak gently to poor Fat Girl. She cant help
her terrible disability.
And she shoots them down with flare!
Jamies life becomes pretty complicated when her supportive boyfriend decides that, though Jamie is fine the way she is, he wants to have weight-loss surgery. The balancing act she must maintain while juggling her feelings about the surgery, her school work, her desire for a higher education, the reaction to her column from other students, teachers and the outside world (including the committee who chooses the National Feature Award winner) is not easy. How she does deal with it is what sets this book apart from a typical teen angst story.
Certainly theres angst here (how could there not be?) but Jamies story is told with courage and humor. There are laugh-out-loud moments that anyone can identify with. Jamie is a wonderful, smart (and smart-ass) girl that you wish you were best friends with. And its definitely refreshing to read a tale of a fat girl who doesnt spend her time rushing to a fairy-tale happy ending of losing all the weight and suddenly becoming popular.
The strength of this book, and the reason I chose to review it
aside from the fact that I loved it is that its message is
neither everyone should be thin nor everyone should
be fat. Jamie has doubts and fears, but she also researches and
arms herself with as much unprejudiced knowledge as she can find on the
subject of fat and health. And she makes you laugh and sympathize while
she does it.
Okay, there really is no such award, but if there were, it would so go to this book.