I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get around to reading this book. It’s been out for nearly eight years now, but I kept putting it off. I think it’s because I knew this would be a somewhat uncomfortable read. Don’t let the title fool you. I know a title like The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things might lead one to believe that this is a lighthearted book about being a chubby girl, and, while some parts of the book are lighthearted, this book deals with some pretty heavy (pun intended) issues. Yes, weight and body image play into that, but this book also shines a light on things like self-perception, disappointment in those closest to you, and breaking out of one’s shell. It was a very enlightenting and, yes, uncomfortable read for me as I’m still dealing with many of the issues addressed in this book (and I’m well out of my teen years), but I think this book is an important one, especially for teen girls who struggle with body image and those who really have no clue what that’s like.
Virginia Shreves does not fit in with her perfect family. They’re all thin, athletic, and, well, perfect. Virginia, meanwhile, struggles with her weight on a daily basis. Her mother is an adolescent psychologist who won’t communicate with her own family and seems to be trying to mold Virginia into her image of the perfect daughter. Her father and brother are not much better. (Her sister is in the Peace Corps, so at least she’s safe on that front.) Virginia also deals with comments about her weight at school. It’s not easy being the fat girl, especially when Virginia’s best (and only) friend has just moved to Washington.
Virginia tries to diet and even agrees to see a nutritionist, but she always goes back to the comfort of food. She knows she needs to treat herself better, but if the people around her don’t seem to care about her, why should she care about herself?
When something happens in her family that shakes Virginia to her very core, she begins to reexamine her life, the choices she’s making, how she views herself, and how other people see her. Virginia is breaking out of her shell, and the people around her, particularly her family, are in for a shock. The new, improved Virginia is here to stay, and she’s not taking crap from anybody anymore. How will her parents react to the new Virginia? Will Virginia finally find the acceptance she’s always longed for? Will she and others see her as more than just a fat girl? Read The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler to find out!
I must say that this book was a very inspiring read for me. I now have the urge to take up kickboxing, dye my hair purple, and get my eyebrow pierced. (Well, maybe not that last one.) Who knows? I might just break out of my shell, too. Stranger things have happened.
For more information on this book and others by Carolyn Mackler, visit http://carolynmackler.com/Carolyn-Mackler-Home-Page.asp.