I have to admit it, when I approached the bargain book bin at Books-a-Million, I was drawn to this book based solely on it’s cover. The bright covers and feet on the cover had caught my attention. Then as I read the title, my mouth drew into a smile and I just knew this was going to be a funny read! Check out this review and see if I was on the mark!
The back cover of Conversations with the Fat Girl reads :
‘ Maggie and Olivia have been best friends since they were in grade school. Both overweight, they befriended each other when no one else would. Now grown, Maggie is still shopping in the euphemism-if-there-ever-was one “women’s section,” while Olivia went and had gastric-bypass surgery in search of the elusive size 4, the holy grail for women everywhere.
So now, Olivia is thin and blond and getting married to a handsome surgeon, and Maggie’s the fat bridesmaid, again, in charge of planning “The Shower” and keeping Olivia’s secret: that she’s really a fat girl in a thin body. Ain’t life grand?
With wit and wisdom, Liza Palmer gives voice to women everywhere who wish for just once that they could forget about their weight.”
So, given that brief description and a theatrical first few pages, I was anxious to give this read a go. The first chapter informs us that the main character, Maggie, is getting evicted from her rental, by her loopy landlord. This if the first of the unexpected changes to her own new life. During the time she spends preparing for her move, we discover that she is working at a diner, where she’s worked for three years after completing her masters and longing for her dream job as a restoration artist. She is the younger sister of Kate, and aunt to Kate’s two daughters, who all play a significant role in Maggie’s life. In every chapter she reflects back on her life growing up with her best friend, Olivia, and the sorrowful experiences they shared as fat children and young adults.
Olivia becomes a whole new person, more and more unrecognizable to her old best friend Maggie, after she gets gastric bypass surgery and reduces to a size 2. Along with this new look, come new friends, a dream doctor/husband, and an entirely new attitude she displays to her old friend Maggie, whom she’s designated Maid of Honor at her upcoming wedding. Maggie gradually overcomes her ‘blue buckets’ (fears), while putting up with much abuse from her old best friend, Olivia.
After the first chapter, the book drags for me. I totally related to the insecurities of being overweight or not good enough in some way. No one truly feels that they fit in when in high School. But, at 27, Maggie is long overdue for not having growing the self esteem she needed to stand up for herself to her best friend. Being timid about relationships with a guy she feels insecure around is one thing, but this long term mistreatment she puts up with from her old best friend was just too far fetched for me to find believable in adulthood. I also kept waiting for an explanation as to why Olivia even asked her to be her Maid of Honor when she had this entire new life and new friends that Maggie wouldn’t fit in with. An explanation for that was never given. I drew my own conclusion for that and decided it Olivia just wanted to show off to Kate and make her feel bad or jealous.
Would I recommend this book?
Yes, I would probably recommend this book to a young high school or middle school girl, but it definitely was not what I’d hoped it would be. There were many things I liked about the book. I liked the main character herself. Maggie was rather funny at times, save her low self esteem. I liked Maggie’s family, and their relationship. I liked her dog, Solo. I really liked the was she began every chapter with a reflected memory or event that had taken place. And I LOVE the ‘About The Author’ page at the back of the book when she explains how she became a writer.
Unfortunately, for the novel storyline itself, on a scale of 1 to 5 starsI’d have to give this book 2 stars. However, I do look forward to reading Liza Palmer’s other books at some future date. You can find out about them at www.LizaPalmer.com.