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A diary records a year in the life of Judi Liebowitz as she dreams of becoming the thinnest girl in the eighth grade and struggles to control her unending battle with calories, food, pounds, and anorexia.
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Through the journal of an eighth-grader obsessed with eating, Newman (Eating Our Hearts Out; Heather Has Two Mommies) explores the horrific ramifications of the "thinner is better" female aesthetic. At 5'4" and 127 pounds, Judi is convinced that she is fat and therefore unlovable. Hiding herself in dark, baggy clothes, she scorns her overweight English teacher for defying the wisdom of Seventeen magazine and wearing wide belts and horizontal stripes. When Judi discovers that her idolized classmate, would-be model Nancy, stays skinny by making herself vomit after eating, Judi cultivates the practice too, developing a routine of binging and purging. Nancy almost dies of starvation, and Judi, meanwhile, begins to realize that she's no happier at 120 pounds than she was at 127. Eventually she recognizes that she needs help. Going further than the average YA "problem" novel, Fat Chance suggests the extent of eating and body-image disorders among seemingly healthy girls; it also demonstrates, rather than insists on, the importance of professional help. Judi's convincing voice and true-to-life experiences add up to a compelling, thought-provoking narrative. With the pre-eminence of the "waif look" in today's fashions, this book should be required reading for adolescent girls-older readers could profit by it as well. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Grade 6-9?Judi Beth Liebowitz appears to be a typical 13-year-old girl. She wonders what she will be when she grows up, what having a boyfriend would be like, and wishes she could lose weight. This desire to be thin, however, begins to dominate her thoughts and actions. Newman chooses a diary format to allow readers a personal look at Judi's emotions. As diary entries progress, her determination to be thin consumes her. She becomes friendly with Nancy Pratt, the most popular and skinniest girl in school, and learns that Nancy binges and purges. As Judi begins to experiment with this new way of ridding herself of food, Nancy is rushed to the emergency room and placed in intensive care. The story finishes a bit too neatly with Judi making up with her best friend, confiding in her English teacher, and confessing her problems with eating to her mother. Everyone is understanding, and she eventually meets with a counselor. Judi is a likable character with whom young teens can empathize, but Nancy is portrayed as a selfish, manipulative girl, and readers never learn her motivations. Fat Chance had the potential to be a strong story on an important topic, but it is too flawed to have its intended impact.?Melissa Yurechko, Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Putnam Juvenile, 1994. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0399227601