Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught

As her high school years draw to a close, Jaime’s goals are high: to get into a prestigious journalism program at Northwestern, and to earn herself a scholarship to get there. To compete for the scholarship, Jaime begins writing a column in the school’s newspaper: Fatgirl. In it, she describes what it’s really like to be fat in today’s world, and dispels some myths people believe about fat people. By exposing the truth, Jaime hopes to show her world that fat people aren’t any different from anyone else, and to win her ticket to Northwestern University. When the column gets more attention than Jaime bargained for, she finds herself trying to juggle the publicity, judgment, and her personal life, all while refusing to back down from her mission.

Overall, this one was entertaining, but not super impressive. I thought it brought some very important issues to life, such as society’s growing bias against “fat” people, teen gastric bypass surgery, and the “myths” surrounding obesity. Jaime is perhaps the only character I’ve seen who is not obsessed with becoming thin, and who focuses on the real issues in her life rather than the superficial ones. That said, I thought Jaime’s voice was hard to get used to, and I was a little alarmed when she started spouting largely inaccurate and arguably dangerous medical opinions. Gastric bypass surgery was portrayed in its full gory glory, so get ready for that as well. A good read if you’re not looking for anything too heavy, and certainly a novel that can spark some interesting discussions.

Rating: 3.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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