Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
Does the world discriminate against fat people? Jamie Carcaterra thinks they do, and she is out to change things.
Proudly calling herself "Fat Girl," Jamie has started a feature column by the same name in The Wire, her school newspaper. Making people aware of the unfairness suffered by overweight people is her goal. She is also hoping her top-notch journalistic efforts will help her win the National Feature Award which could earn her a fully paid college education.
With the help of her friends, Freddie and NoNo, Jamie has planned an attack on a popular clothing retailer offering clothes in sizes designed for the very thin. Jamie weighs in at over 300 pounds, and her plan is to enter the store, request an item, and demand a fitting room to try it on. Armed with her notepad and a video camera, she gathers material for her column.
Jamie is comfortable with her size. She doesn't try to disguise the fact that she is fat. Her mother is fat. Her father is fat. Her boyfriend, Burke, is fat, but not for long. Another issue Jamie explores in her feature column is the fact that Burke has decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery. The risks are enormous (pardon the pun) but Burke tells Jamie he is tired of it all. She agrees to support him, but will things ever be the same?
Teen readers of all sizes will relate to Jamie. She has lots of friends, is active in school activities, and is feeling the stress of senior year with ACT pressure, college applications, and financial concerns. She candidly reveals her thoughts and feelings about being fat in a world that worships those who are thin.
BIG FAT MANIFESTO is a must-read. Susan Vaught offers everything in this book. She has great characters, humor, roller-coaster emotions, and romance along with interesting statistics and opinions about being overweight. I hope she will give us another peek into the life of Jamie Carcaterra some day.