Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

I don't think the butt on the cover was quite big or round enough, personally...

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler won a Printz honor award. The Printz award is for excellence in young adult literature. I thought I'd give it a go, despite my very tiny ass.

Surprisingly, I felt like I could relate to the main character, Virginia, despite our contrasting body types.
While Virginia struggles to lose weight, I often struggle to gain it. The only time I've ever gained any significant amount of weight to the point where someone commented on it was my freshman year at college. My only option living in the dorms was to have a "meal plan" which meant that I had unlimited access to the cafeteria which had an island of doughnuts all day every day which turned into a special ice-cream sundae island on Sundays. Most of the hot meals slopped onto my plate came smothered in cheese and other dairy products (including my favorite cheesy potatoes of which I always ate seconds and sometimes thirds). Everything, it seemed, came dripping with butter or sugar or both. And, to top it all off,  I always had a glass of creamy chocolate milk.

I was proud of my weight gain after years of people constantly telling me I needed to eat a cheeseburger. Or saying, "You're so skinny!" as though it was a crime and I should be ashamed of myself. For once in my life I could say I had love handles (disregarding the fact that they were likely only suitable for small hands).

My sophomore year of college when I moved off campus and had to buy and cook my own food, my weight slipped back to normal and my boss commented on how I was finally losing my baby fat. I was pretty sure the only time I had fat was as a baby, and I wasn't sure how to take this comment. Was it a compliment? I was never fat or even close to fat. With my weight gain I still had a firm hold on the "skinny" title, but this comment confused me and was one of my first experiences of the contradicting views of society.

It is "wrong" to have a body with high metabolism and almost no weight gain when eating ridiculous amounts of food (although I imagine if I'd kept up with my mostly dairy/sugar cafeteria eating I may have figured out what fat really means), yet it's "wrong" to be overweight in the slightest and good when you lose weight or "baby fat".

I've never understood how people feel entitled to make comments about other people's bodies. And I particularly don't understand the obsession our society has with being thin.

Regardless, when I picked up The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things at the library it was because of the silver P on the cover. I wanted to see why it was good enough to receive a Printz honor, and after reading the first page I worried I would disagree with whoever gave the award.

By the end of the book I felt satisfied. The book had good pacing, strong characters, and incredible emotions. I love Virginia and I cheered for her, craved doughnuts with her, and felt pissed off with her through the ups and downs of her story. The last line was perfect.

I'd recommend this book with only one caveat. The food descriptions are perhaps a bit too vivid for anyone trying to stay away from twinkles, doughnuts, cookies, and potato chips. Be warned.

What have you read lately? Anything good that I should check out?

Write on!

1 comment:

  1. i find it funny that your boss said that maybe we should get some of your childhood pics to show off. i dont remember you chubby but that could be you are my sis and are always perfect to me.