Read Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught Online


Jamie is a senior in high school and, like so many of her peers, doing too much. Unlike so many of her friends, she is enormously, irreversibly, sometimes angrily (and occasionally delightedly) overweight. Her most immediate need is a scholarship to college, so she writes an explosive and controversial column every week in the school paper about being fat. Soon, Jamie findJamie is a senior in high school and, like so many of her peers, doing too much. Unlike so many of her friends, she is enormously, irreversibly, sometimes angrily (and occasionally delightedly) overweight. Her most immediate need is a scholarship to college, so she writes an explosive and controversial column every week in the school paper about being fat. Soon, Jamie finds herself fighting for her rights as a very fat girl—and not quietly. As her column raises all kinds of public questions, so too must Jamie find her own private way in the world, with love popping up in an unexpected place, and satisfaction in her size losing ground to real frustration. Tapping into her own experience with losing weight, her training as a psychotherapist, and the current fascination in the media with teens trying drastic weight-loss measures, Susan Vaught writes searing and hilarious prose that will grip readers while asking the most profound questions about life....

Title : Big Fat Manifesto
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781599903620
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Big Fat Manifesto Reviews

  • Megs ♥
    2019-01-19 07:57

    Jamie is your typical super busy senior in high school, except for the fact that she is morbidly obese. She feels that every fat girl book ends with the fat girl being skinny or well on her way to becoming skinny. Will her story have that ending?Jamie has a boyfriend, Burke, who is also obese, and he tells her he is going to be getting gastric bypass surgery. Now Jamie has to wonder if she will keep her boyfriend once he gets thin on top of also worrying about studying for finals and how to pay for college. So she writes a manifesto and tries to win a scholarship. This paper is full of her stories of every day life living as a fat girl, her feelings about everything that goes on around her concerning her skinny friends, her boyfriend, and her family. She describes how she feels in a world that she truly feels discriminates against fat girls. The paper is full of humor as well, though, it's not a sob story. Jamie has a great attitude. The paper also has astounding statistics about the obesity problem in America,particularly with youths.While all of this is going on Jamie claims that she is okay with her size, and doesn't like the pressure of considering gastric bypass for herself. She does consider it, but doesn't know if it's worth the risks. She says she doesn't mind being a funny, fat girl, but does she really? Vaught thoroughly does a superb job of showing Jamie's thoughts and emotions."Hold on to your super-sized butts, fat girls, because we're the last socially acceptable targets for bashing, snarking, and discrimination"This is my second book by Susan Vaught, and I enjoyed this one as much as the first. The first was "Exposed" and that book warned against the dangers of teens meeting people online. Her books all deal with real teen issues, and she presents them in a way where they don't seem cliche. Both of her novels packed a punch, and really make you think. She's a very good YA writer, in my opinion, and I will continue to read her books.

  • Liz
    2019-02-01 11:49

    I really wanted to like this. I was totally psyched to read a book with a smart, non-tragic, and unapologetically fat heroine. But it did that weird annoying thing socially concerned YA books often do where they're like "I'm political, but not TOO crazy! I just write stuff, I don't do any of that extreme activism like going to a rally!". It reminds me of the worst of the feminist blogosphere. Actually, you can definitely trace the influence of the less interesting parts of the online fat acceptance sphere in Jamie's political rhetoric. Anyway, when protestors turn up in support of Jamie, she laughs it off, doesn't go talk to them, thinks they're crazy. She also has a neurotic skinny animal liberationist vegan friend who she seems to hate; why are they friends? I don't get it. The way Vegan Friend's neuroses are played for laughs is appallingly cruel; she spends hours trembling and glassy-eyed because she touched a woolen jumper (animal products), and we're supposed to find that funny? maybe in a book where everything is that over the top, but this novel takes a generally realistic tone, and it just comes off as lacking in compassion for someone with a probable mental illness. Plus the "skinny neurotic left-wing chick" thing is part of the same body-shaming culture that oppresses fat people, you know? Disclaimer: I am a neurotic left-wing vegan. This distaste for radicalism is pretty insulting to the reader; your readers are probably going to be somewhat socially concerned young people, right? They're at least going to be curious about activism. Why ridicule it in an attempt to make yourself seem more moderate, or whatever? I also really disliked how she has NONE of her own friends. Her two best friends are her boyfriend's friends who she hangs out with. They are pretty flat and tokenistic: the aforementioned vegan and a sassy lesbian whose sexuality never actually gets to impact the plot. Similarly, her boyfriend is black but this doesn't affect the plot or characterisation except that his sisters think he shouldn't be dating a white chick. It's kind of supposed to be a "reverse racism" thing, I think. It's not very cool that that's the only time racial tension is touched on. Ok, good points! The way Vaught handled gastric band surgery was pretty cool. Jamie is angry at her boyfriend for choosing the dangerous procedure, he's a shithead to her, but there are no pat answers. I also liked that Jamie has an experience with being misquoted by a reporter; that whole plot point was pretty realistic and a warning to us all. At first Jamie came off as unrealistically self-confident, but in fact she was shown to struggle sometimes with living as a fat girl in an anti-fat world. I loved the detail that she never ate at school because she was embarassed to eat in front of other people; it was one of the few moments in the book that I found truly affecting, heartbreaking even. mostly, though, this book just made me want to read "no fat chicks" by margaret clark instead. check it out.

  • Kelly
    2019-02-17 07:49

    4.5.Jamie is a fat girl -- a very fat girl -- who writes about being a fat girl for her school's newspaper. She sees it as a way to prove people like her are normal and have the same feelings and experiences anyone else does. It's also, she hopes, a ticket to college since her family can't afford it otherwise. This is my second Vaught book and I am sold her on as an author. Her characters have real voice and real heart, despite being flawed. Jamie isn't as confident as she makes herself sound in her column, but her insecurities don't stem from her weight. They stem from many other things, including her relationship with Burke. And Burke, who is himself obese, faces a dilemma of whether or not to undergo gastric bypass. Vaught handled this so realistically and honestly; there's no shying away from what bypass surgery is and the complications that can arise from it. There are so many standout lines throughout the book about what it means to make choices and what it means to accept and love yourself despite your personal challenges. But never once does it fall into being a book with a Message. This and Everything Beautiful are by far the two best books about body image and body acceptance I've read. Not just thin bodies, not just fat bodies. EVERY body. Full review here:

  • Brandi Rae
    2019-01-21 09:56

    Being fat isn’t easy. Clothes don’t fit you. People stare at you or pretend that you are not there; they feel uncomfortable around you. They whisper, wondering if you know how big you are and, if so, why don’t you just do something about it? Jamie Carcaterra knows how it feels first hand how it feels to be fat, and frankly she is sick of how people act around her. She knows she is overweight. She is fat. In fact, she is Fat Girl, author of the Fat Girl features in her school newspaper, The Wire. Started as a way to win a journalism scholarship, she uses her column to explore what it’s like to be fat in such a weight obsessed, skinny world, as well as to dispel myths such as “Poor Fat Girl needs to be educated about her problem” and “all Poor Fat Girl wants to do is lose weight”. However, column and her life take an unforeseeable turn when her boyfriend Burke decided to undergo a risky gastric bypass surgery. Now Jamie is forced to think about the questions that really matter. Will Burke still love her when he’s thin? Is being fat all she is? Is she really committed to being the “fat girl activist spokesperson”? And why does it seem like Heath, her co-editor on the paper, might like her as more than just a friend? Doesn’t he know she’s fat?Although at times a bit predictable and preachy, Vaught has written a funny yet thoughtful look at what it’s like to be a Fat Girl in today’s world.

  • Sara
    2019-02-05 09:43

    Eh. Narrator is tired of everything, all the time, being about how fat she is ... so she starts writing a column for her school newspaper about being fat. She hopes the column will be enough to get her a scholarship for college, because there's no other way she'll get to go, and I'm like, there are these things called student loans that are not hard to get, and yeah, you don't want to go into crazy debt, but don't act like this one particular scholarship is the only possible way you can pay for college! OK, now that that's off my chest -- the book was OK. There were a lot of little things (like the scholarship) that struck me as just off enough that I couldn't really get into it. Also, the friends were caricatures, not fully realized characters.

  • Hannah
    2019-02-10 07:56

    1.5 starsI had high expectations for this book, and was sorely disappointed. The author was whiny, and I swear to god, every time she talked I wanted to violently hit my head against the wallA better, more thorough review later

  • TJL
    2019-01-30 06:54

    Where do I even start.I rarely fail to finish books. When I do, it's usually because they are so mind-bogglingly boring that I can't finish.And sometimes it's because they are so unbelievably infuriating that I actually get a headache and can't continue.This book falls under category two.I made it to about chapter three/four before finally forcing myself to put the book away before I could throw it out a window (if it were my own copy, I probably would have done just that, but it's a library book). So, to recap:-Jamie doesn't know anything about business. Just because "30% of the girls" in your town can't buy clothing from a particular store does not mean their is a terrible injustice going on. Businesses cater to the majority, not the minority, because that's how they make money, which is pretty much all they care about. -Bonus: "Bigger sizes are more expensive" well no shit Sherlock, the more material and time to make it, the higher cost. This is not rocket science. This is basic frigging logic. -Jamie is a jackass who (with Freddie) triggers NoNo's anxiety/panic issues regarding animal-skin products to make a scene (after promising her that she wouldn't have to touch any animal-based products, after KNOWING that she was on the edge of freaking out the moment she stepped into the store, and KNOWING that she was on medication in the past).-Jamie is a jackass who thinks that because the word "fat" does not offend her means that it shouldn't offend anyone. Because lol it's not like that word has been used to hurt and demean some people, currently overweight or not, and they might actually have legit issues with its usage, right?Oh, and another bonus from Chapter Three, because it was just too good.-"Burke, doesn't my opinion count for anything?"So basically what she's saying is, "Doesn't my opinion of how you look count for what you choose to do with your body?"Do me a favor: Reverse the genders. Pretend it's Burke asking Jamie that. Everyone would be screaming "SEXISM!!!" in a heartbeat if a boy was telling a girl to do/not do something because of what he thought of her appearance.And again: Jamie is a jackass, because what Burke does with his body is his business. Not hers. And she's pissed of that he didn't "discuss it with [her] first", because, you know, she deserves some control over her BOYFRIEND'S body, right??? If he's unhappy with his weight, it's his prerogative to get something done about it. But see, Jamie likes that he's overweight, so Jamie doesn't think he should do it. This was the moment where I had to put down the book.Jamie tries to guilt and shame him out of making this decision which- for better or worse- is his to make. It's Burke's body. Not hers.And despite this, he tries to soothe her and say "Go ahead and write about this in your column if you want, it's totally not shitty of you to guilt and shame me for a personal decision about my health, and it's totally not a bad sign that I didn't even feel safe telling you about this ahead of time because I was afraid that you would react exactly the way you have." Because that is totally an indicator of a healthy relationship, right? Fearing your partner's reaction to a personal decision you choose to make about your body?Overall: Jamie is a jackass. Does she change? Don't know, don't care, not going to subject myself to this book to find out.Especially not when I strongly suspect, just based on what I've seen of Jamie thus far, that there's going to be -body-shaming against smaller girls (which we get a glimpse of in "Fat Girl Fuming Part II" when she calls NoNo a "stick-bug")-more crappy treatment of NoNo and her anxiety problems-preaching about women-preaching about obesity and how it's really just people being concerned about looks rather than health.

  • Arminzerella
    2019-02-17 06:02

    Jamie Carcaterra is fat – not just overweight, but obese. And she’s sick of people thinking that it’s ok to cut her (and other fat people) down for it. While she’s mostly well-adjusted and self-confident, Jamie feels that other people should know what it’s like to be the fat girl, so she starts writing a column for her school newspaper as a means to air her feelings on the subject and educate others (it also wouldn’t hurt if she can use her column to win some scholarship money either). Jamie’s column becomes surprisingly popular and starts to attract a lot of attention – even outside of school. After the local news station learns about Jamie’s column on Hot Chix (a popular clothing store for thin teenage girls), they interview her and then edit the footage to make her look as bad as possible. Jamie’s incensed. It doesn’t stop there, however. In the midst of all of this, Jamie’s boyfriend Burke (also fat), gets bariatric surgery to lose weight. Jamie is scared that the surgery will kill him, and if it doesn’t, she worries that once he’s thin, he won’t want her anymore.Jamie’s fears aren’t unwarranted. The surgery totally changes Burke (at least for the time being) and all he can think about is how much weight he’s losing and how others perceive the new him. And this translates into pep talks for Jamie – you know, you could lose weight, too. And that really hurts her. She worries about his health, too – there can be lots of complications from the surgery and long term effects aren’t known – but it’s too much to think about all the time. Surprisingly (and refreshingly) it’s Jamie who finds someone else first. Her co-editor, Heath, finds her attractive and doesn’t think she needs fixing. Burke goes ballistic when Jamie tells him, but it feels like it’s for the best. This was a really good (and somewhat different) look at the politics of fat. Jamie’s columns do more than educate her schoolmates – they educate her readers, too, and humanize the fat condition. Jamie is still working through a lot of these issues, too, so her turmoil should bring up a lot of discussion. It’s easy to miss or dismiss these issues if you’re not fat, and Jamie (and Susan Vaught) does a great job showing how the skinny mentality affects everyone – and not just fat people. For once, I was relieved to find that “fat” wasn’t a size 12, and that the fat girl didn’t suddenly lose lots of weight and become skinny and then find that her life was so much better. She stays fat, and acknowledges that she wishes she weren’t, but that changing her body isn’t something she can do (right now, or maybe ever), so she’s trying to stay positive. It’s really hard to do that when everyone seems to be against you.I’m not sure how many teenage girls will pick this one up. It’s really good, but the stigma of being fat is really bad. And how many kids are going to care about Jamie’s problems? How many will be sympathetic to her cause? It almost seems like this would appeal more to college-aged women – or at least girls who are more open to body image issues, feminism, etc. It’s not easy to be different or be an activist in high school. At least, not about fat.

  • Hannah
    2019-01-29 09:49

    I'm reading 5-6 YA books about body image and eating disorders for an honors course. I was probably most excited about this one, and I took two pages of notes as I read it. I'll try to compress them here.Pros:- Jamie is a confident fat girl whose confidence doesn't magically free her from cultural fatphobia, so sometimes she still struggles (e.g., fitting room cries)- Introduces readers to the idea that most of the "misery" that comes with being fat is society's fault, not the fat person's- Vaught addresses some really important examples of this in Jamie's life, such as receiving inadequate medical attention because it is assumed that all of a fat person's problems can be solved by losing weight- One of Jamie's friends is gay (or bi) and it is presented very casually so yay for representationCons:- I know I kind of listed this as a pro, but I got frustrated with Jamie so much because she was actually rather insecure. I think I came into this book expecting Fat Girl (the "character" who writes her column), who doesn't always match Jamie. Jamie still compares herself to her friends, still wants to lose weight, hasn't eaten in front of people since 5th grade, isn't actually totally opposed to surgery for herself, equates being fat with having cancer, does the whole "denying that someone could be attracted to me" thing, etc. I understand the point of this and that it is important character complexity, but it's mostly why I didn't enjoy reading this.- So even though the very first column she writes addresses the myth that all fat people are miserable and hate themselves and want your advice about losing weight, Jamie herself sometimes fulfills that stereotype. It's okay to be stereotypical, but I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that some people will read this and view it as evidence that the stereotype secretly does apply to everyone, and that confident fat people are just lying to themselves.- Another stereotype that this book doesn't handle well: all fat people have wildly different eating habits than "normal people," such as 4 chocolate bars as a regular snack, and it's totally everyone's business. I have a feeling that the other books with fat protoganists on my list will make a much larger spectacle of the character's diet than this one, though. Tired of this trope.- The few moments where her boyfriend's race is addressed... His sisters essentially only dislike Jamie because she's white? Is this supposed to be scary "reverse racism"? Also, Jamie addresses the issue that black people are three times more likely to die from bariatric surgery but "doctors don't know why." Well, sociologists do.Anyway, "it was okay" sums my feelings up pretty well, so 2 stars.

  • Taylor
    2019-01-25 07:52

    I read this book for my Pre-AP English class. It was actually pretty good, I enjoyed it. Though it did get boring sometimes, so that's why I gave it four stars instead of five.The conflict of this book, involving the main character Jamie Carcaterra, dealt with her trying to finish up senior year and getting into a good college. In which she would need and wanted to win the NFA (National Feature Award) for "outstanding journalism promoting the public well-being," a scholarship to the journalism program of her choice. But alas, bigger problems erupt right when Jamie thought things were going to work out well. Her boyfriend Burke Westin decides to go ahead with gastric bypass surgery to seem "normal", leaving Jamie worried, confused, and angry. Mixed feelings, nonetheless. She even develops a crush on her partner of the school's newspaper, Heath Montel. Along the way, Jamie's newspaper article, Fat Girl Manifesto is pushing huge publicity, forcing Jamie to struggle with everything on her mind. The most dynamic characters in this story were Burke Westin and Jamie Carcaterra. Burke with his major, life-threatening surgery, and Jamie with her struggles throughout the entire book. All the rest of the characters, even though many were very important, didn't exactly change in an important way. In my opinion, the theme of this story was probably, even though you go through many struggles throughout your life, you can always make the best of it if you try your hardest. Even though you'll make many mistakes, you will learn from them and move on to be a better you. I'm pretty sure you'll be happy with what you choose too. I truly think that's how Jamie got through everything in the book. She did have to make some tough decisions, and she struggled a lot. But she got better at things and moved forward, hoping for the best.

  • Christine
    2019-01-27 11:03

    This book was fabulous. It completely captured the truth of most teens, who pretend to be fine with who they are, even defensive of it, but deep down hate everything about it and want nothing more than change.Jamie sets out to break myths about fat girls, and denounces several myths through out the book in her Fat Girl's Manifesto articles, but also reveals several of her insecurities about whether or not 'normal' people really want the fat girl to be their friend or girlfriend.The only reason it doesn't get five stars is for bad journalism. Jamie complains several times in her articles about TV reporters who twist her words and dis her and her article on television. I'm sorry, but, honey, if you're going to write about something controversial, like your weight, you're going to have to get used to people hating on you. You can't react to it, at least, not in print. That's not good journalism.

  • Aiyana
    2019-02-01 10:57

    Unabashedly brilliant. I love the complexity, strength, and voice of the main character. Jamie is snarky and sassy, a teen activist for fat rights and fat acceptance... but no matter how strong a person's convictions, life always has a way of making her question the things she is most sure of. What I love about this book is how it acknowledged Jamie's struggles with her identity as a Proud Fat Girl without in any way taking away from that identity and her main message. You get to know the real person behind the face she shows the world-- and seeing her vulnerabilities and uncertainties only makes her more admirable.

  • Denise Vega
    2019-02-15 11:54

    A big departure from TRIGGER, BIG FAT MANIFESTO tells the story of Jamie, who writes a "fat manifesto" for the school newspaper, detailing the prejudice against fat people and her own experiences. When her "large" boyfriend decides to get surgery to shrink his stomach, Jamie goes through a lot of soul-searching to figure out who she really is and how she feels about herself. Jamie is a funny, strong, fabulous character and the book is a wonderful read.

  • Helen
    2019-02-14 09:49

    I really enjoyed this book. I was drawn in by the main character, who starts out with an "I'm fat and I don't care who knows it" attitude, but during the course of the novel, reveals progressively more of her true feelings and vulnerability. A great lesson in how to effectively use a first-person narrator.

  • Caitlin Marie
    2019-01-26 04:53

    Best YA book I've read in a very long time, wonderful characters and great plot.

  • ~*kath*~
    2019-01-26 04:54

    Not bad. I enjoyed the story, but was irritated by a lot of fence sitting over fat politics. Particularly annoyed by the suggestion that fat activists are somehow aggressive or extreme.

  • Lani Siale
    2019-02-09 05:46

    This was an AMAZING book!Susan Vaught is an amazing author! Her words are so strong and heart felt. I used to hate reading but when I read the first page of this book it opened my eyes to the new world of books. I'd like to say that I discovered my genre thanks to this great book. I found it relate-able in so many ways even though I don't consider myself as fat.If you have no idea what its like to be a fat girl or want to know what they think about themselves then I strongly suggest you read this book. I pretty much found myself in this story. I never thought a fat girl can have a better love life than most people I know. The story kept me on my toes, if anything I wish I met Jamie in real life. I'm glad I read this book and I will read it again and again until I'm able to quote from it. Thank you so much Susan, you taught me what it's like to love reading.Sincerely, the authors quiet fan

  • Chelsea
    2019-02-15 06:02

    I had a hard time deciding how to rate this book. Maybe 3.5?While reading I felt a push to keep reading! I wanted to find out what was going to happen, but by the end I'm not sure I felt satisfied. They was also A LOT of PG 13 language that wasn't making me love it. But I felt I learned a lot about the life of obese people and what they have to deal with. I go away a better person with that knowledge so that I can have more compassion. The love triangle was entertaining. So would I recommend this? No? I'm not sure. It's definitely geared for a high school audience, and I could see them liking this a lot. But I'm not sure the final taste in my mouth was sweet. I enjoyed it, but not as satisfied as I would have liked to have been.

  • Ash
    2019-01-19 12:00

    I definitely think that this is a great book for teens. It has a positive message and also shows the growth a young woman goes through while figuring out who she is.

  • Kira Brighton
    2019-01-21 11:06

    I learned a lot reading this book.

  • Laura Rasmussen
    2019-01-22 10:00

    A coming of age novel about an obese teenager. Lots of fat issues are brought up - fat acceptance, self esteem, fat discrimination, bariatric surgery (and it's risk), and more.

  • Becky
    2019-01-21 05:03

    Vaught, Susan. 2008. Big Fat Manifesto.This is the third 2008 novel I've read this year (within the past two weeks actually) that deal with "weight" in one way or another. Each of these books (Looks, Artichoke's Heart, and Big Fat Manifesto) is unique from the others. Each is in some ways flawed. Some more than others, but still none is perfectly perfect.Jamie D. Carcaterra is a writer on her high school's newspaper. At the beginning of her senior year, Jamie starts a new column. A column she hopes will win her the National Feature Award for outstanding journalism. Her column is a manifesto of what it's like to be a "fat girl.""I am so sick of reading books and articles about fat girls written by skinny women. Or worse yet, skinny guys. Tell me, what in the name of all that's cream and chocolate do skinny guys know about being a fat girl?The fat girl never gets to be the main character. She never gets to talk, really talk, about her life and her feelings and her dreams. Nobody wants to publish books about fat girls, by fat girls, or for fat girls, except maybe diet books. No way." (1)Thus begins the book and her first "fat girl" column. Jamie is a great character. She may be a fat girl but she's not your stereotypical fat girl: lonely, friendless, dateless and a person who is lacking in ALL self-esteem and confidence.Let me shoot down a few myths right now, before you even set up a stereotype:Myth number one: Speak gently to poor Fat Girl. She can't help her terrible disability.Myth number two: Poor Fat Girl needs to be educated about her problem.Myth number three: Poor Fat Girl laughs to hide her tears.Myth number four: Poor lonely Fat Girl can't get a date.Myth number five: All poor Fat Girl wants to do is lose weight. (2-4, largely abbreviated)Chapter one: "I have two must-achieve-or-die goals this year. The first do-or-die is probably the easiest: Write the best Fat Girl feature series ever, expose the politics and social injustices of being a fat female in today's world, and win the National Feature Award to ensure my collegiate funding. The second do-or-die, related to the first, is earning admission to Northwestern University." (6)Jamie's voice is wonderful. I loved it. I especially especially loved her Fat Girl columns. They were true. They were authentic. They were needed. The novel focuses on Jamie's life. Her mostly crazy, often chaotic life where she is juggling writing, acting, and studying on top of having a boyfriend (Burke) and several girl friends (NoNo and Freddie). Her parents hardly enter into the picture at all. The central plot of this one is her relationship with two guys: Burke and Heath, her editor-in-chief. Burke, her boyfriend, is a Fat Boy himself. However, he decides to have weight-loss surgery. A decision that Jamie can't quite support with her head and her heart. Surgery is risky and dangerous and so drastic a step, isn't it? And if he has the surgery, how much of him--his personality, his life-style--will he lose along with all those pounds? Will she still be his fat-girl goddess once he's a muscular hunk? Heath, her editor, becomes a close friend. He's there for her and with her when all the chaos of her life begins to unfold--Burke's surgery, the columns continuing media circus, etc. (The local media has picked up on her "fat girl" columns and decided that Jamie is dangerous and promoting a "fat" lifestyle just because she's not a lonely, depressed, pitiable girl with NO self esteem or self-worth. Because she's fat and okay with being fat...she must be a menace to society, right????)I loved almost everything about Big Fat Manifesto. However, if Big Fat Manifesto has a weakness then it is in the character development of minor characters. NoNo and Freddie are nothing more than one-sided stereotypical characters. (Freddie the side-kick lesbian; NoNo the sidekick vegetarian, animal-rights protester.) They lack the "flesh" they need to stand on their own. Burke, Jamie's boyfriend, is more developed than Freddie and NoNo, however, he doesn't have that sparkle and depth that a proper boyfriend should. Heath, on the other hand, seems to have a charm and substance and vitality that I noticed from his first introduction. But Jamie? Jamie's development is complete.

  • Katie G
    2019-02-08 08:43

    3.5/5 StarsI was so excited when I read the article that this book opens with. I thought, Finally! A book about a fat girl who doesn’t apologize for her size and is actually perfectly happy being fat. Sadly, that’s not at all what this book is. From the opening chapter, it’s clear that Jamie doesn’t really believe what she writes about in her Fat Girl column, at least not completely. She doesn’t eat in public. She cries in the dressing room when she can’t wear a size 13 shirt. The more I read, the more annoyed I got that this book wasn’t what I thought it would be.That’s not to say that it was bad. It was actually really realistic in some respects. I, too, have gotten really pissed off at the horrible treatment fat people receive while still feeling bad about myself because I’m so “overweight.” So I completely get where Jamie’s coming from. I understand her contradictions. They’re realistic and believable. But they’re not what I was expecting from this book, not after reading the first Fat Girl article.There were other parts of the book that irritated me. The major thing that annoyed me was the portrayal of NoNo. NoNo’s a size 2 (or 4 or 6 depending on the store) and a vegan. She freaks out about every little thing. The dressing room scene early on was just a bit much for me. She clearly has some problems, and they mention her need to take pills. I liked her dedication, but I hated the way she was used as a joke all the time. I really hated the scene where her dinner consisted largely of plain lettuce and raisins. That’s the stereotypical vegan dinner, not the actual one. I mean, I know she’s at her friend’s house and thus has limited options, but Vaughn could have written her dinner to be anything. But no – she chooses to perpetuate the vegan stereotype. Because why write something realistic when you can keep using vegans as a punch line?Something else that really annoyed me was her boyfriend Burke’s usual snack – four candy bars, split in half and eating in two bites per half. Jamie spends about $15 a week on chocolate bars for her boyfriend. Now, I’m not trying to say that fat people never eat too much candy (they do, as do skinny people), but COME ON. I’m so unbelievably sick of books and movies that show fat people who are always surrounded by candy that they have hidden all over the place and which they eat in large amounts all the time. That’s another one of those stereotypes that’s everywhere and which really pisses me off because I have never once seen that actually be true.I actually think “really?” was the response I had the most while reading this book. I won’t list all the times that thought occurred to me, as I don’t like giving away anything that happens after the first few chapters, but trust me – I thought it a lot. At one point there’s talk about how dating a fat girl takes courage, something that really pissed me off. You have to be brave to date a fat person? Really? Not the sort of message I expected from a book like this – or at least the sort of book that I hoped this was. I mean, she mentions the National Association for the Advancement of Fat People in the opening article. How do you not expect great things after that?That’s not to say that I hated this book, because I didn’t. Once I got over the fact that this wasn’t going to be the type of book I expected, I tried to change my expectations. This book brings up a lot of great topics, and it even made me think about some things in a different way. NoNo may not have been given the credibility or the attention I would have liked, but she was still given a little depth, which was nice. I liked most of the overall message, even if I feel like it should have been taken further.Overall: If you go into this book expecting to read about a fat teenager who’s happy being fat, you’ll be disappointed. If you go into it expecting to read about a fat teenager who alternates between not caring that she’s fat and hating that she’s fat, you’ll probably be much better off. This book brought up a lot of interesting points, although Vaughn falls short of making this book as interesting as it could have been. The side characters were interesting but a bit undeveloped. I will definitely have a copy of this on my shelf when I’m an English teacher, although it will not come with the recommendation I originally thought it would.

  • Scott
    2019-01-17 10:57

    Vaught, S. (2007). Big fat manifesto. New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA Children.Jamie is fat, or Fat Girl to be exact. She's the loud and proud senior who is hoping to breakdown societal and cultural stereotypes about beauty through her school's newspaper. She has her senior year laid out to be perfect. She's a lead in the school musical. She's going to win the National Feature Award and get a scholarship to a good school. That is until her boyfriend decides to have bariatric surgery, forcing her to challenge her whole Fat Girl persona. Vaught takes aim at how our culture views beauty, and especially bigger girls. Jamie is smart and witty, and willing to challenge any and all "norms." However, it is when Jamie is Jamie and not Fat Girl that the novel works best. Recommended for 9th grade and up.Additional Thoughts:This book, especially the first 3/4, has a very take-no-prisoners approach. Fat Girl, a role that Jamie seems to be playing rather than actually living, is very confrontational and doesn't hold back on how she feels. This is especially useful in challenging society on how they view beauty. While I have not gone through and fact-checked the book, many of the stats seem reasonably true. There are valid points against vanity sizing and how big girls can't find cute clothing. She is also a healthy girl, who has acting, singing and writing chops, but can't ever seem to land the lead in anything, including becoming editor of her school newspaper. She is extremely sharp with her nails when taking on the Gastric Bypass surgery that her boyfriend has. I did a quick WebMD search and many of her numbers are inflated, but many of the facts about the surgery are true. This includes one of the most gruesome side-effects I can think of: dumping. Basically, the surgery shrinks the stomach so those who have had it can't overeat. They can, however, overfill this tiny stomach, which causes them to dump out all the excess (through any available orifice).What is somehwhat troubling about this book is Jamie as a character. As I said above, she seems to be playing Fat Girl rather than actually living as Fat Girl. So while she boldly takes up these causes, the real character often seems ashamed of her weight and not willing to believe she is/can be beautiful, an activist, the star. For one thing, she doesn't eat in front of people, which could be because of bullying. If she was really comfortable with who she was, would she really have this hang up? Vaught does deal with this two-sideness of Jamie vs. Fat Girl but it comes late in the book. I would have liked to see more of the vulnerable Jamie, as opposed to the rabble-rousing character she plays for her peers.Similar Titles (Read-A-Likes): Paper Towns by John Green, Burned by Ellen Hopkins, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee, The DUFF by Kody KepplingerFull Disclosure: I purchased this book used from Amazon for a class. I will now be donating it to my library.

  • Ravenous Biblioworm
    2019-02-11 07:56

    In a current society where there is a close obession with diets, health, and obesity, this book’s inner flap told me enough for me to pick up the book. The first page was written well enough to pipe my interest and before I knew it I was done with the book. Jamie is the narrator/protaganist of the story. She is a fat girl, overweight and she feels underappreciated because of her weight. Like Jamie says on the first page of the book, which she had submitted to her school paper, which she is a part of, “The fat girl never gets to be the main character. She never gets to talk, really talk, about her life and her feelings and her dreams. Nobody wants to publish books about fat girls by fat girls, or for fat girls, except maybe diet books. No way.” Because the reality of this strikes true outside of the book, I decided this book, if done right, might be interesting. It was for the most part. I laughed through some moments and I may not be a fat girl but I can sympathize with Jamie in most moments. She, like most of us, suffers from proper social etiquette. Do I smell? Does this clothing suit me? Of course, the world is harsher on Jamie because she’s fat.Jamie has a boyfriend who is also overweight. It’s this character that makes the story interesting. Big Fat Manifesto isn’t just a story about a fat girl and her musings. She doesn’t whine endlessly (nearly not at all) about her weight problems. In fact, throughout the book she pushes forward and exerts an attitude of “accept me or get out of my way.” The decision that the boyfriend makes turns Jamie’s world backwards and with that decision, Jamie begins to question her stance on obesity and herself. Her self confidence drops and her identity becomes questionable.Vaught handles the subject with care. She doesn’t preach to leave fat people alone nor does she dictate fat people should be more conscious of their life choices (read that as become healthy and skinny). Vaught gave us a charctaer struggling to find her true purpose and identity in a world ruled by stereotypes, prejudices, and first impressions. She reminds us that fat people are too humans. Whether she knows from experience or did research Vaught gave pretty convincing details about the boyfriend’s choice of actions. I believed (hopefully its close to the reality and not glorified or horrorized) the situtation.The supporting cast could have used a bit more flesh and bones, but they were different enough as is to tell apart. The parents of both Jamie and the boyfriend served their roles as parents. Support characters acted they way they should and was generalized as such for the most parts though there were quirks with some of the more important cast members.Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s a meaningful and relevant book for todays teens and questions social morality without being dramatic.Verdict: I highly recommend reading it. For me, not my style of book to buy. But do read it at least once.Visit my book review blog at

  • Laura
    2019-01-17 12:57

    This book is SO GOOD. And because “good” is subjective and not an actual literary critique, it was also EFFECTIVE. There were a few things that I felt were problematic, but the good stuff far outweighed them. In the writers of Tumblr populace, there seems to be a fear that writing diversely will lead to a lot of problematic representations. This book is a great example of why we should write diversely anyway and embodies everything I value in fiction: 1. DiversityJamie is our lead character, a fat girl who wants to change the way overweight people are treated. Her best friend is a lesbian, the other a vegan with implied anxiety, and her boyfriend is black. None of these traits define who they are or what they do, with the exception of Jamie herself. 2. Strong and Consistent Character VoiceOur narrator is Jamie, through first person POV and her column in the school newspaper titled Fat Girl Manifesto. Her voice is strong and consistent, shifting subtly as she grows through the novel. 3. Character Development Jamie doesn’t know everything, though for a while the reader knows this more than she does. As the story progresses and the pressure builds, she comes undone to reveal a softer underbelly. But more importantly, she comes out stronger than before, more honest and expanded. Other Things: The narrative doesn’t directly state that NoNo has an anxiety disorder but she definitely has anxiety and medication for it. She’s also very serious about animal rights. She goes to rallies and refuses to touch any animal products or things with toxins. Jamie doesn’t take her seriously a lot of the time and so the narrative doesn’t seem to either. At first. In the end, NoNo has the biggest impact on Jamie’s transformation and teaches her about standing up for the things you believe in. Freddie has a school cable show. She’s fashionable, she’s fiercely protective, she takes no shit, she can be downright mean, and she’s insightful. She’s not defined by being a lesbian, not by the narrative or herself. A lot of the plot of the novel is supplied by Burke’s choice to get gastric bypass surgery. The narrative shows how this is not an easy way out. It also pokes at the obsession to be thin, the tendency to assume all fat people’s problems are because they are fat, and the revulsion around it. I don’t think it gets preachy with it because it’s so tied to Jamie and her struggles. I love that Jamie is such an activist, even though she doesn’t know what she’s really serious about. And that’s great because she’s 17. I love that she doesn’t have anything figured out. And the romance isn’t the forever and always kind but it’s still damn sweet. Overall: This is worth the read if you like well written contemporary YA and diversity or if you dig that contemporary YA to have a set of themes and topics different from the majority. I recommend it to you even if you don’t actually, because it’s great to try new things. I hope you’ll like it. :)

  • Doug Beatty
    2019-01-19 08:57

    Plot: This is the story of Jamie Carcaterra, AKA Fat Girl, who is the features editor for her school newspaper, the Wire, and writes a column called the Fat Manifesto. Jamie has two friends, Frederica and NoNo, and they help Jamie by entering a thin girls store with a hidden camera and film the reactions of the store clerks to Jamie. Jamie also plays Evilene in the school production of the Wiz. Jamie’s boyfriend, Burke is a football player and informs Jamie that he is going to get bariatric surgery. Jamie is concerned because the complications can kill him, and even when he does get the surgery he gets a blood clot that they have to remove. Jamie writes about these incidents in the Wire, and begins to cause a media storm, not at all positive. Jamie begins to discover feelings that she has for Heath, the editor of the paper and him for her and she feels that she must break it off with Burke. She feels like she no longer knows Burke because all he talks about is the surgery and how much weight he is losing. Jamie seems to be hiding behind the image of Fat Girl and needs to discover who she really is. Finally a competition for a scholarship disqualifies her because her articles do not promote the well being of people and she decides to fight. The story ends as she heads to the plane.Strengths: Jamie is a strong character, although she can be a little bit bitchy. The issue of fat acceptance and the fact that fat people are discriminated against is a good one, and the author makes some very good points on the issue. The author also exposes some of the dangers of bariatric surgery, especially for teens, when she talks about frothing and what happens when Burke tries to eat a candy bar. But she keeps the story open minded and doesn’t push an opinion either way, it is up to the reader to decide whether surgery is right or wrong. Jamie struggles and changes throughout the novel but also is the heroine of the piece and shows that even a fat girl has feelings, forms relationships, has good friends and can even get a boyfriend. The inclusion of her columns is a nice touch because the reader can follow along with what she is writing to the paper. Even the minor characters like NoNo and Jamie’s mom and Burke’s family are written with realism and offer nice touches to the novel. Weaknesses: I found Jamie to be a little strong and a little unlikable at times. I suppose that is the defense mechanism she used and it did further the plot along. Also, it could be said that this is a “message” book as the message was a little strong and heavy handed but as it was what the story was about that could be fine too. I think the author did a good job of highlighting an issue that is rarely covered in teen books and makes an overweight character be the star.

  • Oksana*Bookaholic*
    2019-02-02 04:49

    Recommend this for:1) IDK!! 2) Really fat people who wanna be sure that they're better than skinny or normal people 3) People who want to know how to ditch their sick boyfriend for a hotter and smarter guy (maybe this one's a big too harsh)4) People who want to know the effects of fat-removal surgery5) People who like to laugh at mean thingsI got this book because I wanted to read about the relationship between overweight/normal people, and see what life was like from a perspective from an obese person's view. I have to say that I did not like what I got.1) Throughout the book, Jamie insults normal people. She gets pissed that when she walks into a store, they don't have over 13 size clothes. (Hello??? This is America, I get it. America has the most obese people ever. But you don't see us normal people marching into Plus Sizes and making a fit that they don't have clothes that fit us!)2) Jamie has this one friend that hates touching anything that was made from animals and stuff. She's really eco. The author really made fun of her! When she got hysterical about something that meant a lot to her, (killing animals for leisure, etc), the author put on a humorous air, like "oh haha isn't she just charming". And people have their beliefs and stuff. It's not OK to make fun of them.3) I really DID like how the author put everything through a Fat Girl's (Jamie's magazine name) perspective. But I did NOT like how the author really pushed it on that "being obese is OK!" and "You're great the way you are!". No, I absolutely agree that we shouldn't change because of society or fashion views, but this is HEALTH. It is OK to make a person feel better about themselves, but to encourage them to continue their bad habits? To stay the way they are? Don't change? Don't TRY to change? Obesity is a hazard, and people die from it. And the author's saying that if you're a teen and your body fat is over 50 it's "okay"? No, it's NOT okay. Being obese isn't a choice where you can just wave your hand and go "whatever." It's got consequences. OK, I don't mean to be mean or put anyone out or make them feel bad. I'm just trying to say that we shouldn't JUDGE or MAKE FUN of obese people, but we can't just let it happen and say "OK". That's wrong. And I kinda felt that the author was like consoling people and saying "it's OK". The language was fantastic, and it was well written. But if you're considering reading this, please try and think about my comments before you go to the library and pick it up.

  • Jaslyn
    2019-01-17 12:50

    This book tells the story about an extremely overweight young woman named Jamie who is quite aware that she is fat, fat, fat. She writes for the school newspaper and tells about her life with her boyfriend who's undergoing gastric banding, and the issues that come up with that. It deals with other teen issues like clothing fashion and how she manages her newspaper column getting fame in the local and national news.I'm not sure why I picked this book up and read it. I think it was because I was curious as to how a writer would tell a story like that from an overweight young woman's perspective. In high school I was friends with a girl who was really fat and she was a bit like the girl in this book. She could be one hell of a cool, fierce chick, but she was also incredibly defensive, angry and self-conscious. As much as she, like the girl in the book professed how comfortable she was with her own body, her actions and words spoke thousands. She was not happy but didn't want to admit it to herself.This book was confronting, and it made me uncomfortable and completely turned my head around in circles. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing for a book to do! Nevertheless it was an interesting take on the perspective of an overweight person, and some of the issues they may experience. The plot was rather thin though, I didn't find that Jamie really learned any life lessons or changed. It was just more like a sequence of events that happened, but with no end goal. Would I recommend reading it? No, probably not. There was too much angry and raging at, well, anyone who wasn't Jamie.Read more on my blog.

  • Aaron
    2019-02-02 09:42

    With all the talk about America's fight with obesity, particularly in relation to our youth, this book is definitely timely. The tale centers around Jamie Carcaterra, a senior in high school who is the features editor for the school newspaper as well as playing Evileen (the witch) in the school's production of The Wiz. She is working hard to succeed because she knows that winning a scholarship is really the only way she is going to get to go to college.Her main tool for trying to get a scholarship is a weekly column in the school's paper, which is called the "Fat Girl Manifesto." Jamie is a great character who is a strong female lead. Her columns work hard to expose the treatment of girls who don't fit the mold of the thing American girl by highlighting how fashion houses are "shrinking" the sizes of clothes and how people stereotype her because of her size. She even explores the dangers of gastrci bypass surgery to confront obesity when her boyfriend decides that is an option he wants to choose. There is even an interesting romance blooming between Jamie and the Ken-lie (as in Barbie and Ken) editor-in-chief of the paper.The problem is that even though Jamie insists that she doesn't mind her weight and is confident in the person that she is, she comes across as whiny and ranting as she writes her manifesto and looks to those around her to fit the mold of those stereotyping "fat" people.There are also some very strong and realistic scenes as she confronts poor treatment, but reality lets go in a number of areas. For example, the school newspaper seemst o run completely on its own with no input from a sponsoring teacher, and the school play seems to be a sidebar for Jamie even though she has one of the starring roles. The story also seems to become distracted by a number of subplots relating to Jamie's best friends, one of who is a quite humorous agent for the protection of the planet and animals. This makes the story drag on in some areas.As a result, this is an OK book on a great topic. It is a shame it was not better because it is a message that really needs to get out there.