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The Fat Girl Paperback – 10 Aug 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications,U.S.; 2 edition (10 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738710008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738710006
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 12.7 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,077,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Miss R. Hughes on 16 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a shame in many ways that this book is not more widely published. I can remember stumbling across a battered copy of it in my school library, some time in the mid 1990s, and enjoying it then, although I read it at surface level then as a story about a fat girl who meets a boy - a popular, handsome boy - and her life changes for the better when through him she has the confidence to lose weight which results in her splitting up with him.

Returning to it at the age of not quite 30 I found the book disturbing and unsettling on so many levels and I have so many questions about it - I'd love to meet the author of this book for that reason. Jeff, our narrator, is handsome - he knows it and other people know it too. So why is he dating Ellen, the "fat girl" (Ellen weighs over two hundred pounds - fourteen stone-ish for non US readers which wouldn't make her particularly horrendous by today's standards, but anyway ...) It's a book about power, and Jeff loves not Ellen (Wanda, Jeff's sister says, "Ellen (sic) has no personality ... she just sits and looks at you" but the power he holds over her. Jeff controls what Ellen wears, her makeup, her perfume, her friends, and to begin with Ellen is compliant and agreeable. At first, it's possible to see that even though Jeff comes across as a little overbearing his intentions are basically good and even though Ellen isn't keen on the clothes he chooses, the point is she's showing an interest in clothes for the first time in a long time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 July 2003
Format: Hardcover
A book about growing up and feeling different but with twists all the way along. The popular kid tries to help the outcast in this case and, rather than helping her through her problems, he learns to overlook them. With no definitive 'happy-ever-after' conclusion, The Fat Girl is a no-cliche, compassionate, and comforting novel that deals with the importance of being comfortable with yourself and understanding those around you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A book about co-dependents!?! 22 Mar. 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book in junior high. I was a fat girl myself, well maybe not that fat, I guess I was considered "pleasingly plump". When I read it I thought it was good of Jeff to be kind to Ellen the fat girl. He decides he wants to be her friend and help her feel better about herself. It really shows you, however, how sometimes a helping hand can become a stronghold!! In my experience, growing up, there were people I wanted to help and sometimes did too much for them, like young Jeff ends up doing. Jeff starts doing things for Ellen which she is perfectly capable of doing herself. It's a very interesting book with a non-saccarine ending. If you read books on co-dependency or have been thru AA/AlAnon, etc., this book should be required reading. It's fictional yet a perfect example of co-dependency. It should accompany Melody Beatty's book, "Codependent No More". Not only is Jeff showing signs of codependency, but his mom and dad are, too. This usually runs in families and is a learned behavior. Check out this book!!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Fat Girl 30 Nov. 2001
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Library Binding
This book was good, but to be honest I didn't think it was going to be because it talked a lot about ceramics. Later I found out it was just setting up a place where a lot of the stuff happens. It's about a guy named Jeff and he chooses ceramics so he won't have to take a history class. He hates Ellen, but to him she is known as the fat girl. She stares and admires him. Soon his hatred for Ellen turns into fascination. He soon wants to be friends with Ellen and help her make other friends. It's full of surprises so it keeps you interested most of the time. There were some slow and kind of going nowhere parts to it, but there weren't to many. I choose to read this book because of the title mostly, it sounded very interesting and it was. So if you like stories about different kinds of people and how they react to society this is the book for you.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Quite Anti-Climactic 24 Sept. 2008
By J. L. Ingenbrandt - Published on
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up because I had struggled with my weight as a teen and was interested by the synopsis. As I read and the amount of pages remaining dwindled down, I realized that story really wasn't going anywhere. Sachs has a habit of opening doors within the story and then never revisiting the specific situations again, almost making you feel as though she just threw those pieces in as fillers. Also, while I certainly believe that not all stories are meant to have a happy ending, per se, I believe there should be some sort of closure or resolution at the end of the novel. This book lacks that. After reading the last page, I closed the book feeling quite ambivalent toward the entire novel as well as the characters in it. There wasn't enough emotion in this book to really make you feel a connection to anyone, right up to the last page. It wasn't mind-blowing or shocking, it was just kind of dead. I'm not saying it was a terrible book, and to be quite honest I do enjoy her style of writing, but I really feel as though she could have done more with the story, because the premise is so interesting. I would recommend maybe picking this book up at the library over paying money for it, because chances are you'll read it once and that will be about it. There isn't enough substance to this book that will keep you coming back for more.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Pygmalion lives 24 Oct. 2006
By Laurie M. Russell - Published on
Format: Library Binding
This book is one of those which I recognize as being very good without actually liking it. It wasn't at all what I expected. I was hoping it would be a story about a boy genuinely falling for someone who wasn't his physical ideal. There are very few stories like that for young people, so while the many surprising twists were satisfying in a literary way, they were disappointing on a personal level. Yet perhaps some might argue that it is much more realistic that a young man would become drunk with the power of transforming the life of an unhappy fat girl than that he would genuinely fall in love with her. So it's the Pygmalion/My Fair Lady story all over again, but this Eliza Doolittle has the sense to get out. That is satisfying, in a way, though her emancipation is seen in the book entirely through the eyes of Jeff, a very unreliable narrator. This made it a good book, but not a comfortable or heartwarming book. It was edgy and the ending was somewhat disturbing.

I admit that it was very well written, and that the author's intentions were good, but there is a kind of disheartening subtext to the story that suggests that in order for a handsome young man to fall in love with a woman above a certain weight, there must be something wrong with him or the kind of love he feels. How wonderful it would be to read a story in which a boy tells a large girl, "I love you the way you are," without his being seriously neurotic.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Why does the "Fat Girl" keeps looking at me?! 25 Jun. 2011
By Anxirium - Published on
Format: Paperback
I don't know even know how to start this review. This book sure was different. It wasn't what I expected at all. And this, this is a good thing.

The story is about Jeff Lyons, a high school senior who wants to transfer from chemistry class to ceramics' because he's not that great of a student (doesn't have the best grades) and being in ceramics class will be less demanding and that way he can go to college. There he meets Ellen De Luca, or "the fat girl" like he calls her. She's twice his width, clumsy and super bad at ceramics. He can't stand her and it doesn't help that she's always looking at him and that bothers him.

In that class he also meets Norma Jerkins, who's blonde, beautiful and has a talent with clay. They're both good looking and it's no surprise they become a couple. But one day in class when Jeff makes a comment on Ellen's lacking skills in ceramics and she hears him and ends up crying; that's the turning point for him. He tries to be nicer to her and when she confesses a secret, he wants to help her more than ever. And so starts the transformation from fat girl to Ellen.

I really liked this book and the summary caught my attention right away. I thought this was going to be a cute love story about how the guy falls in love with the underdog and live happily ever after; I was so wrong. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it.

Jeff is a good guy and cares about his family, specially his mom since his dad left him and his sister years ago. His sister, Wanda, who's a teenager has her own issues and they play as a second plot to the story. He and his mom sometimes don't have the best communication, but that doesn't take out the fact that they both care about each other.

So, when things aren't going good at home, it seems like his escape is Ellen.
Like the nice guy everyone says he is, he tries helping her come out of her shell. He helps her find a hobby, think about college, and care about her personal image. He even helps her with the make-up and clothes she should wear. That part felt kind of weird because he's a guy, you know? But it all makes sense in the end.

At first, all this looks like good intentions from his part and they probably were but not for the right reasons. It doesn't take long for it to become uncomfortable. He becomes sort of obsessed with her and her only. Now that Ellen is finding her place and losing weight, he doesn't want her to be independent. He tries to mold her his way and what he thinks is right for her, but the thing is that it looks almost caring. It confuses you. You don't know what to think of him. I got mad at him. But at the same time he doesn't come off as a bad boy. Do you know what I mean?

One thing I didn't know was that this book was originally published in 1984 and it's on its third printing. Again, I'm glad I picked this book up. It was really different. Even though its been years since this book has been out, you should definitely pick up a copy and experience it yourself. I haven't read a contemporary like this one before.
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