June 6, 2011

Fat Camp by Deborah Blumenthal

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Camp! Freedom, first kisses, summer fun...but not at Camp Calliope, a prison camp for the overweight. That's where Cam Phillips' parents have shipped her off to eat controlled portions, endure rigorous exercise, and sleep in a bunk full of girls who'd rather exchange recipes than ghost stories and gossip. Except for one cool girl from Texas, Faith Masters-who's normal enough to help her stay sane and temporarily replace her best friend, Evie. And then there's Jesse-the only thing close enough to drool-worthy on the camp's menu. Cam can totally relate to him, since his basketball-coach Dad sounds a lot like her perfectly thin, successful Mom. It looks like for the next eight weeks, only the issues (and not the food) on Cam's plate will be supersized.
My Thoughts:
I honestly picked up this book just because it was on sale and I liked the topic: obesity and the struggle to lose weight and its challenges. Then when I actually got to start reading I thought this would be another book about weight loss during the teen years.

O contrare!

Actually, I liked how Deborah Blumethal (who's a nutritionist, btw) shows the downfalls and the struggles of being overweight especially at an age where teens search for identity. She hit a lot of key points about how hard it is to lose weight in a world filled with fast food and larger portion sizes. Or how some people may automatically look at you and think you are not on a diet or need to go on a diet.

There was one hitch: The main character lost weight for a boy. I know, the oldest trick in the book. I would rather her conquer her compulsive eating for a bigger reason. Life changing reasons. Instead her life changing moment involved the boy. I guess I'm a little peeved about that because my mother is a feminist and beat it into my brain cells that doing stuff for men is just plain ol' wrong.

Maybe it was just me.

There was another thing that kinda hit me backwards with a slap: How she mentioned that other discriminated groups were not asked to change.

Yeah right.

So asking African Americans to change the way the dress, act, and even speak isn't asking for change?

I'm not going to go on a rampage and start ranting. I think you guys had enough about that last week. Main point is: That's simply not true and even though some history books avoid the topic, it's still there written in history forever etched into our D.N.A. (since African Americans of lighter persuasion were seen as pretty and dark African Americans were seen as unattractive and it still exists today. All you have to do is come to Hampton University and look around. Or look at the president, Barack Obama. Do you think we would have a chocolate African American as president?! Ha! We had a whole discussion about that in class, but I won't go into it today.) and not just in America, but all over the world. Look at aboriginals in Australia and watch Rabbit Proof Fence. That will change your life. Look at the discriminatory practices towards people of Romanian blood. Just because they have a darker skin tone. Look at the Asian side of the world. They lighten their skin tone, bleach, just to look lighter. Some even put a fold into their eyelids to make them look "more Westernized". Look at the book The Fold by An Na (perfect example). I'll leave you to think about it and I'll move on.

Anyway, other than that I really enjoyed the book. The twists and turns, the truthfulness about losing weight, the simple language that accompanied it, the humor (wonderful) and the overall feeling that Deborah Blumenthal portrays in the book is just right. Just gets the point of view right on the nose about the different paths to losing weight.

Would I recommend this book to other people?

Absolutely. Great book. Easy to read. I would defintely recommend this book to teenagers who have thought about losing weight or even comfortable just at the weight they are in.

Speaking off which, here's an excellent book about identity and obesity:

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Awesome book. Just great. And even got an award! I have this book on my bookshelf (got it at a library book sale. Did I mention I'm addicted to those things?!) and it was wonderful to read about it.

Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts if you've read any of the books above. I've got to go since I've got a job to get to. *screams high pitched like a teenager excited about getting a Slurpee/like on That's So Raven*


  1. I haven't read these books! But thanks for listing them, and I'd better read them, since my current book I'm revising for my agent has these themes!! Weight, identity, self-image. Important issues for teens--and everyone!

  2. Absolutely Carol! If you're going to write a book about obesity then you should do your homework! :D Plus both books have a wicked sense of humor so that just makes it enjoyable and educational. Yippee for research! :P

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