If I’m in a bookstore and the words “Fat Girl” are printed on the cover of anything, I’m going to take a personal interest. That’s how I found myself picking up Stephanie McAfee’s New York Times Best Seller, Diary of a Mad Fat Girl.
I was still reading One Day when Frank was consuming this one. For the record, just about the only things I do these days are reading and writing.
If you’re new to this blog, Frank is a dino sock puppet who enjoys filming his book reviews. That’s all well and good, but something weird almost always happens (and also… thanks for stopping by!).
With that in mind, I’m going to let Frank do his thing here. Then I’ll be back to do mine. This also seems like a good time to tell you that if it doesn’t make any sense at all, I have a good reason: I’ve been up since 7:15 a.m., it’s 2:40 a.m. as I write this, and I only slept for not quite four hours last night. SO…
Take it away, Frankie, baby…
Uh… thanks, Frank. Sorry about that clock, buddy.
If you’re looking for a good beach read, Diary of a Mad Fat Girl is one for your list. It’s quick and easy, full of hijinx and humor.
While the storyline is definitely following chick-lit patterns, it’s set apart in that it’s totally ballsy.
The voice in this book is really strong and, for the most part, completely believable. I can hear these characters. I love that in a book, and no matter what the subject matter is, a strong voice like that will always hold my interest.
Frank has said pretty much everything I wanted to say (I can’t imagine why). But something he didn’t mention and I want to is the matter of conclusion.
The whole way through this book, I flew through the pages waiting to see what Ace and Lilly would do next to help their friend (probably purchasing clothing at a drag shop and going into a strip club to catch the philandering husband was my favorite). I looked forward to their visits to Gloria Peacock’s house (house is kind of a weak word. It’s like her own private country club) to see what kind of high-tech ways she had of helping them.
But when I got to the very last page, though, I felt a little bit let down — even though I could see it coming.
Throughout the whole book, Ace struggles with her relationship with Mason. She’d moved from Mississippi to Florida to be with him the year before and got mad and left when a younger and prettier girl came to the house to talk to him and he didn’t immediately send her away. So when he shows back up in Bugtussle, she’s surprised. She keeps him away for a while, and then lets him back in (see what I mean about chick lit patterns?), then gets furious at him.
SPOILER ALERT! THE NEXT PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SPOILERS!
In the end, when she decides she doesn’t want her job back, she puts her dog Buster Loo (correction:their dog) in the car and drives down there to make it work. The next morning, Mason takes her to the building that he bought her before she dumped him the last time. Her dream has always been to have her own art studio and this was the space. As she’s taking it all in (in what I imagine to be one of those dream-like sequences), she turns around to see Mason down on one knee.
I just didn’t like that ending. It wastoo girly for my tastes and what I liked about the rest of this book was that, while it was girly, it wasn’t sickeningly so.
After reading up on the book, however, I discovered something that helped me feel a little bit more at peace with the book: it’s the first in a trilogy. Definitely interested to see what happens in the next two. I really hope it doesn’t end up being like “Oh look, we all have families and don’t live anywhere close to each other, so we never talk and we’re [sort-of-but-maybe-not-really] sad about it!”
I read books to escape reality.
And this is my absolute favorite part of the book, and it’s got more to do with the author: remember how I mentioned earlier that this was on the New York Times Bestsellers List?
Stephanie McAfee tried to get a book deal and wasn’t having much luck, so she did what so many other writers out there are doing these days: she took to self-publishing and published this book on her own at the end of 2010.
It went on the New York Times Bestsellers list as a self-published eBook.
Do you know how difficult that is? You know a book has a lot of strengths, whether you enjoy the subject matter or not, when it can do something like that.
Eventually she got that book deal (and a trilogy, no less!), revised and expanded, and published the print version.
From a writer’s perspective, I find that amazing. Those are the kinds of “gives us hope” stories that keep so many writers going.
It’s been a hectic week for me, so I haven’t had much time for reading. I’m into the next book though, and all I’ll say about it so far is that it’s pretty drastically different from the last two. A debut novel from a new author. Stay tuned!