Virginia has a "larger-than-average" body and a medium-sized inferiority complex. Her mother is an excercise fiend, her father a golfer and her siblings are gorgeous, clever and impossible to live up to. Virginia thinks the world of everyone, except herself, then a phone call changes everything.
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Carolyn Mackler is the author of the acclaimed young adult novel LOVE AND OTHER FOUR-LETTER WORDS, which was an American Library Association Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and an International Reading Association Young Adult Choice. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications, including SEVENTEEN, GIRLS' LIFE, TEEN PEOPLE, and GLAMOUR. Of THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS, she says, "So many of us feel like we don’t quite fit in with the rest of the world, that we’re inferior to others in some way. But things happen. Bad things happen. And many of us end up learning the difficult but important lesson that the people we idolize may not be all they’re cracked up to be. And guess what? We’re not so bad after all!"Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
From THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS
Sunday morning. My parents return from Connecticut early because Dad has to leave for a business trip to Chicago this afternoon. I’m sitting on the couch, watching TV and chewing my fat-free nails. They say hi to me and then Mom goes into the kitchen to make a smoothie.
A moment later she appears in the living room again.
"Virginia, I’m so proud of you," she says.
I mute the volume. It’s not every day I hear "Virginia" and "proud" in the same sentence.
"I just saw those pictures you stuck on the fridge."
Mom, meet the Food Police.
Mom continues. "You want to hear something funny?"
"Back when I was . . ." - Mom pauses - ". . . a teenager, I put images of models on my family’s fridge, to keep me from eating too much."
Mom nods. "Like mother, like daughter."
As she heads back into the kitchen, I pump the volume on the TV again.
Since when did Mom become Ms. Observant Parent? A few weeks ago, I got an A+ on a language arts paper about ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel García Márquez. I even managed to include two mentions of "ostracism" and three of "oppression," so my teacher gobbled it up. I stuck it to the fridge with a few magnets, hoping Mom - a big Márquez fan - would say something, but she never seemed to notice.
So how is it that she’s in the apartment seven minutes and already spots the Food Police?
Oh well. I should probably look on the bright side of things.
Mom has never said like mother, like daughter to me before.
And that in itself is worth one hundred years of hunger.
THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS by Carolyn Mackler. Copyright (c) 2003 by Carolyn Mackler. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
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