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Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy Hardcover – July 26, 2011

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"Wright gives voice, complexity, and heart to the kind of character often relegated to a cliché sidekick role...[Carlos is] a walking example of the inner strength teens need--regardless of their sexuality."
--Publishers Weekly

"Wright’s occasionally flashy but mostly straightforward...prose should work equally well for bookish and non-bookish readers."--Kirkus Reviews

"Readers will simultaneously root for and marvel at this fascinating character."--School Library Journal

"There's a whole lot going on in Wright’s novel, but it’s handled deftly and, for the most part, believably. Best of all, Carlos is not completely defined by his homosexuality. It is an important part of him, yes, but so are his ambition, his concern for his sister, and his capacity for friendship."--Booklist

"A fast-paced and humorous chick-lit read, Carlos is sure of himself and yet willing to acknowledge when he makes mistakes. His loyalty to friends and family and grace under pressure come through as he overcomes stereotyping to achieve his goal."--Library Media Connection

About the Author

Bil Wright is an award-winning novelist and playwright. His novels include Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy (Lambda Literary Award and American Library Association Stonewall Book Award), the highly acclaimed When the Black Girl Sings (Junior Library Guild selection), and the critically acclaimed Sunday You Learn How to Box. His plays include Bloodsummer Rituals, based on the life of poet Audre Lorde (Jerome Fellowship), and Leave Me a Message (San Diego Human Rights Festival premiere). He is the Librettist for This One Girl’s Story (GLAAD nominee) and the winner of a LAMI (La Mama Playwriting Award). An associate professor of English at CUNY, Bil Wright lives in New York City. Visit him at BilWright.com.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (July 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416939962
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416939962
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,958,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Knapp on January 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Carlos Duarte is a self-possessed, somewhat overweight, gay, mildly cross-dressing, mildly make-up wearing 16 year old in NYC. He is great at applying makeup and through talent and bravado and a great work ethic, takes the first several steps on his dream-career of makeup artist to the stars. I enjoyed this book a lot. Carlos and his family, coworkers and most of his friends are accepting and supportive. It isn't all roses and neatly answered questions, but the overall feeling is one of acceptance, optimism and hope. Carlos is a thoughtful, very funny young man. Great job, Bil Wright.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard on August 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really loved this book!
Carlos is wonderfully drawn.
The complex emotions he's feeling are so real and his voice is engaging, funny and very heartwarming.
All the characters to me are right on and the whole thing moves beautifully.
The book has lessons about fitting in and being one's own person, without being preachy.
It's a fun and very uplifting read.
And I do like it when our hero comes out on top!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robby Nadler on March 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
I can't really understand all the love this book is receiving. From a craft perspective alone, this book is simple (not in the good way), the characters are flat and stock, and the entire plot feels contrived. But that is not why this book is as bad as it is. The text is incredibly misogynistic; page after page Wright insults women as fat, disgusting, crazy people. Similarly, his portrayal of gay men are all bitchy stereotypes. Carlos himself is one of the most egotistical, nonredeemable characters I have come across in a while. It's not even that I have dislike those sorts of characters, but the text then tries to make you care about him, which we don't, but it thinks we do. Further, Carlos is posited to be Hispanic, but this book is completely race blind. He is Hispanic in name only. Wright takes up another person's race as if all you have to do to accurately portray someone of another race is give them a Spanish sounding name. There is nothing authentic about this work, and it should be ashamed for how it treats women (I write this as a gay, white, male).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marcy Winograd on October 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
What I found most interesting about Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy was the protagonist's struggle
to summon enough courage to confront his sister's brutal boyfriend, meet his mother's expectations
of a grown son,and approach a classmate whose sexuality is a constant and compelling mystery. Though it took me a
chapter or two to cheer for Carlos, I was soon hooked and couldn't put the book down. I kept turning the
page to see if Carlos would, as his mother urged, beat the truth out of his sister's lover or if Carlos's
crush would return Carlos's charmed love.

Without giving too much away, let's just say I had hoped Carlos's character would have more of an arc, but life isn't always
a perfect arc, more of a slow bending toward truth, integrity, purpose and courage. I loved Carlos' proud
and hard-working mother, the protective matriarch, and enjoyed the gender-bending Gleason, Carlos's talented
love interest. The sister, Rosalia, was a mystery though, a frustrating one, as I wanted to know more of her
backstory, why she made the choices she did.

Most of all, however, I got inside Carlos's skin to better understand the emotional tightrope a gay teen
walks as he owns his sexuality while facing homophobic peers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AngLo on January 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am almost finished reading this book. It is a great addition to Sunday you lean how to box. Mr. Wright has a gift for capturing the voice of young folks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roy on August 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Upon entering the world of "Putting Make-Up On The Fat Boy," readers will meet Carlos Duarte and immediately take him into their hearts. The reader travels with Carlos through many adventures in this wonderful coming of age story. The author's refreshing take on this character is that he is not a tortured young gay teen. Carlos is out and proud and knows exactly who he is and where he stands as a young gay teen. Fabulous would best describe Carlos. Some of his journey is heartbreaking and handled with great sensitivity. I only wish that that there was a book like this when I was a teenager coming of age. Adults, teens and adolescents will thoroughly enjoy the ride with Carlos. This reader never wanted the adventure to end. Hopefully, Mr. Wright will give us further adventures of Carlos very soon.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought the title too irresistable to give this book a chance - and I will have to say that it was a rather delightful sort of read. Imagine if Marc St. James from Ugly Betty gave his own backstory - and I think you will be able to picture Carlos perfectly! He was sassy, confident, and just a perfect blend of ambitious and niceness to make for a likeable main character.

I am not a makeup fiend (...well, maybe I dabble in eyeshadows like a regular Bob Ross), but the enthusiasm that exudes from Carlos as he lands a job at a Macy's cosmetics counter is all but infectious. I think anyone who has any retail experience can appreciate the challenge of handling a moody, self-centered boss and learning how to make ornery customers feel beautiful again.

I did appreciate that Carlos came from a low-income family, and he struggled to help his family make ends meet. So many books seem to have characters who live charmed lives where they don't have to worry about food or meeting rent, and this story element brought more tension to Putting Makeup On The Fat Boy than what would have been if Carlos had been born to riches.

As enjoyable as watching Carlos walk the path toward his dream career, there were a few bumps in the road that seemed a little too disconnected with the ultimate goal. Of course, no road traveled should be without detours and obstructions, but I did not think enough time had been spent on them - and these projects were left unfinished or else with an less-than-desirable ending. Perhaps I have read too many happy-ever-afters, but even the unhappy-ever-afters seemed not fully realized when I reached the end.

Putting Makeup On The Fat Boy is a charming read, despite the title that sounds a bit rude, and Carlos embraces himself with as much joie de vivre as the cast of Ugly Betty does. A sequel would be very welcomed in my mind since there were a few loose ties that I thought still needed closure.
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