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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (Teen's Top 10 (Awards)) Hardcover – July 14, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10-Sophomore Virginia Shreves lives in Manhattan and attends a prestigious private school. She lives by her Fat Girl Code of Conduct. She has a budding romance with Froggy the Fourth, but she doesn't want his wandering hands to feel her fat. Her baggy clothing helps her to "hide." Her mother, Dr. Phyllis Shreves, is an adolescent psychologist obsessed with her imperfect daughter's weight, and her father is rarely around. Her older sister joined the Peace Corps to escape mom, and brother Byron is big man on the Columbia campus-until he's suspended for date rape. Finally, Virginia stands up to her mother and takes charge of her life. Strong points in the novel are the issue of date rape and its consequences and, however glossed over, eating disorders. Parental pressure is overdone. Mom and dad are stereotypical of adults so involved in themselves that they cannot see their child for who she is. Some passages are very well done, but the book has an uneven quality in prose style and character development. Told through first-person narrative, journal entries, and e-mail, Virginia's story will interest readers who are looking for one more book with teen angst, a bit of romance, and a kid who is a bit like them or their friends.
Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. Fifteen-year-old Viriginia Shreves is the blond, round, average daughter in a family of dark-haired, thin superstars. Her best friend has moved away, and she's on the fringes at her private Manhattan school. She wants a boyfriend, but she settles for Froggy Welsh, who comes over on Mondays to grope her. The story follows Virginia as she tries to lose weight, struggles with her "imperfections," and deals with the knowledge that her idealized older brother has committed date rape. There's a lot going on here, and some important elements, such as Virginia's flirtation with self-mutilation, are passed over too quickly. But Mackler writes with such insight and humor (sometimes using strong language to make her point) that many readers will immediately identify with Virginia's longings as well as her fear and loathing. Her gradually evolving ability to stand up to her family is hard won and not always believable, but it provides a hopeful ending for those trying stand on their own two feet. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Teen's Top 10 (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1st U.S. ed edition (July 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763619582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763619589
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carolyn Mackler is the author of the popular teen novels, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (A Michael L. Printz Honor Book), Tangled, Guyaholic, Vegan Virgin Valentine, and Love and Other Four-Letter Words. Carolyn's novel, The Future of Us, co-written with bestselling author Jay Asher, received starred reviews and appeared on several bestseller lists. Carolyn's novels have been published in more than twenty countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Denmark, Israel, and Indonesia.

Carolyn lives in New York City with her husband and two young sons. Her seventh novel for teens, Infinite in Between, will be published in September 2015. Her first middle grade novel, Best Friend Next Door, has just come out, and her next Young Adult novel, Infinite in Between, comes out September 1st.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By R. Kearns-White on August 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a former undernourished-looking child and a current plus-sized 213-lb woman, I loved The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. Don't take a look at the title and lump this book into the Teen Bridget Jones-Chick Lit category. Although it resembles one of those books of the ever fast growing genre, The remarkably insightful, introspective, multi-layered, and well written. Carolyn creates a wonderfully multi-dimensional character in the form of Virginia Shreves.

Virginia is a blond-haired and overweight 15-year old who does not fit in with her over-achieving, athletic, slim, and brown-haired family. Virginia is not only an outsider at school, but an outsider at home as well. Like her mindless eating and magazine reading, she encourages the isolation as shield. If no one can notice her, no one can criticize or tease her about her weight. Virginia even dabbles in self-mutilation to deal with the pain she feels about being a fat girl in world where being thin is in.

Unlike other plus-size heroines, Virginia has a grasp of her sexuality and takes a firmer grasp of it as the novel progresses. Virginia makes out with her unofficial boyfriend, and enjoys it even when the size of her body makes her nervous. She also masturbates and is not ashamed feeling arousal towards boys. Mackler writes these scenes, there are a few but not too many, with careful wording. It is never vulgar or sappy. It is plain and unobtrusive.

A tragedy in Virginia's family forces her to take charge of her mental, physical, emotional, and social health. By the end of the novel, which I read in little over a day, you're feeling as energized and as unstoppable as Virginia.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Kristen on October 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The book The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler is truly an awesome read. The book is about an average highschooler named Virginia Shreves, the only thing not exactly average about her is her weight. Virginia is bigger then normal and knows it and lives by what she calls the fat girl code of conduct. You get to know Virginia as a character and the issues in her life, one of them being her having to realize her brother is a date raper and her mother may never accept her for who she really is big boned and all. The book is humerous but also touches on some topics that are not so funny, like eating disorders, becasue shes not happy with her weight. It also has romance in it, which i think is the perfect mix. Carolyn Mackler's book is a read worth your time and a book you will regret dearly for passing up.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ei on September 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As I was perusing Amazon one night last week, I stumbled upon Carolyn Mackler's new novel, "The Earth, my butt, and other big round things." I took a 'look inside', and feel in love with Virginia Shreves, its' main character.
I've never related so well to a fictional character so vividly before. All those feelings of no self worth or confidence came flooding back to me, and it was very real to me.
Chapter one has Virginia lip locked with Froggy, a boy from school who has an hour to kill before his trombone lesson. They spend an hour in her bedroom kissing every Monday. When his hands start roaming, she pretty much sends him packing.
Being overweight, Virginia feels very uncomfortable with the idea of someone of the opposite sex seeing her body. She doesn't even look in the mirror, at least not yet.
I am not one to give much away in my reviews. I will tell you that you will laugh alot, most likely cry(i did), smile, and just love reading it. I am very happy I bought my own copy.
As Virginia's story progresses and the 'perfect' shell of a family shatters, she is transformed. I loved this 'coming of age story'....
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne on August 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book was just too good, it tells the story of Verginia Shreves, and her dealing with her best friends move to Walla Walla Washington, and her weird, and sometimes embarrassing first love. And while that seems like a total "Yeah-sounds-like-any-other-first-love-teenage-book-of-growing-up-and-finding-yourself" it really is much more then that. Virginia's story gets much deeper when her brother, (who also happens to be the one person in the entire world that she admires and looks up to the most) makes a huge life changing mastake that will follow him for the rest of his life. And while all this is happening Verginia decides that she is not going to take any of her mothers [stuff] anymore and stop looking the way her mother wants her to look, and starts being the person that she has always been deep down inside, and not just the fat, shy, loser girl that people once knew her as. I truly loved this book and recomend it to anyone who loves to read like I do.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on September 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Virginia Shreves isn't what you would call a small girl. She's more of a round girl. She thinks that she's fairly comfortable with her size, until her best friend, Shannon, moves to Walla Walla, Washington, so her father can study onions, and she begins "fooling around" with Froggy Welsh the Fourth. The only problem, is that she can't speak to him during school hours, because she feels that she should follow the "Fat Girl Code of Conduct." Now she's not only depressed and lonely, but her Psychologist mother is trying to drag her to a nutritionist, and her best friend is now running around with a new crowd in Walla Walla, and doesn't have as much time to e-mail Virginia. Now Virginia's decided to try a new method to get herself to lose weight, and become attractive to everyone, a way that could hurt her. Badly.
After reading "Love and Other Four Letter Words," I anticipated Mackler's newest release "The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things." I wasn't disappointed. Virginia is a fresh new personality (and body-type), in a sea of book characters who are tall, thin, and flat-chested. She appeals to girls who don't fit that mold. Her imperfections make her not only funny, but extremely relatable. Her boy troubles, best friend troubles, and eating disorder will teach girls of all ages to be happy inside their own skin. Whether that skin is thick or thin, black or white. A must have book to keep treasured for years to come.<...
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