I must admit the title intrigued me, as did the buzz I had heard about the book. And the book did not fail to deliver what it promised. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it.
Would I classify it as fiction or non- fiction? It links both worlds and I felt my heart crying a little bit as I read about Pamela’s experiences as a fat girl.
The world is cruel and all the more to those who cannot stand up for themselves. Pamela has learnt very early in life, that ‘fat” girls cannot do a lot of things. They cannot expect to get heart shaped candy on Valentine’s day even in kindergarten. They cannot hope that the object of their crush would even notice them romantically. They cannot hope to be the star in school plays.
When not only classmates but also family join in to ridicule her, Pamela withdraws into a world of her own where she talks to her toys and looks to them for emotional support. She rarely talks to people but her fertile imagination produces all sorts of scenes where she is loved rather than ridiculed.
The only thing I found a little odd was that if she was so obviously overweight and had social and emotional issues, why didn’t her parents do something about it? Why did they wait for so many years before thinking of going to a counsellor? Why could they have not worked with her on her diet and other issues? In the end she is glad because she finally has a family that cares about her talent. Why could she not have a family that simply cared about her?
It just drives home the point that a lot of parents just close their eyes to the issues faced by their kids. They are too scared to tackle their kids head on. They don’t want to admit that their kids have a problem. They can’t accept the fact that their kid might need help. If only we as parents accept our kids with all their flaws and give them unconditional love, will our kids find the strength to face anything that the world throws at them. They won’t need to withdraw into a make-believe world where toys talk to them and give them advice on how to live their lives even at 18.
My classmates were shocked. The sports teacher was happy to see me run for the first time – I had never run before because fat moves when you run. Everybody would laugh. The lunch break ended with me accepting the mostly melted orange stick from the kind ice cream man. We were too tired to talk about the whole event. But it did make me a bit popular that year, with the school Yearbook including the story and a picture of me running away from a 6 feet tall man holding an ice cream.
Grab your copy @