The quirky title of this excellent book could alienate the very audience it seeks to serve – a pity, as Mackler has expertly tuned the narrative away from veiled didactic to thought-provoking entertainment.
Virginia’s excess weight makes her feel like an outsider in her own high-achieving, athletic, brittly-perfect family. Her brother Byron’s date-rape of a fellow student at his prestigious university pushes the family to the edge of their fragile stability and Virginia knows that she must readjust both her self-image and her relationship with them if she is to do more than merely survive. With the help of her best friend, a sympathetic teacher, a passion for writing and the courage to defy social stereotyping, she succeeds in carving out a respected place on school campus which not only solves her own problems but provides others with the vehicle to do the same.
This is no glib, saccharine solution to a serious problem but a considered story with warmth and credibility which both reassures, entertains and educates in equal measure.