The Earth, My Butt, & Other Big Round Things

I'll admit it - I bought The Earth, My Butt, & Other Big Round Things because it had a great name. I've never read anything else by Carolyn Mackler but I'd heard the name thrown around before. And the fact that was a Printz Honor book didn't hurt either.

(Denise - if you do a YA reading thing I think you should try to read all the Printz award winners and honor books - it's only been around since 2000....)

When I first started reading it was I skeptical. At one point I thought it was starting kind of slowly but then I realized that I was on Chapter 10 so um, maybe not so much. Virginia is a character we are all kind of familiar with. Her family is the "perfect" family on the outside but of course they are all pretty, skinny, athletic and brilliant and she doesn't feel like she belongs. She's often the last picked on teams in gym. She can't conquer French even though everyone else in her family is fluent. She's not popular and it really doesn't help things that her best friend is across the country for a year because her father is writing a book about onions. Oh yeah, and she's not skinny. In fact, she might even be fat.

And her perfect family? Well...maybe they aren't so perfect after all. Something happens that brings her brother crashing down from the pedestal she put him on and makes her re-evaluate everything in her family. And herself.

While it's a bit short (I think the book could have been a bit longer...) there were scenes in there that were pretty damn truthful. There's something about the scene where Virginia pinches herself in her "fat spots" hard enough to cover herself with bruises that is pretty darned real.

A solid thumbs up.

One thing that I am curious about is that I've been seeing a lot about this book on blogs in the last six months or so - but it came out in 2003. That's one of the things that I absolutely love about blogs vs "traditional" media. Too often professional reviewers only focus on books fresh out of the gate but bloggers breathe new life into books that have been around for awhile. I like that.