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Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes Paperback – March 18, 2003
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100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, Painted Post, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a story about Eric "Moby" Calhoune, a so-called fat kid, who bonds with Sarah Byrnes, an outcast burn victim. They form a friendship that is tested on many occasions by Sarah's inability to face her past and her relationship with her father (Mr. Byrnes is one of the most evil characters I have ever encountered in literature). Soon things get dangerous for both Sarah and Moby, but I won't divulge anymore details. You must read the book to find out what happens.
I will only say that while this book centers on abuse (in many forms), it also deals with a wider range of teenage problems. What is so profound about this story is that it could happen, it may have even happened to some of us or someone we know. It's truthful and realistic. Be careful. It may hit you hard when certain things are revealed. If you tend to cry while reading books or watching films, you might want to have a tissue handy when you sit down with this one.
It's a tough one to answer, because there are so many wonderful books out there. But when all's said and done, I think I have to go with "Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes," by Chris Crutcher.
Overweight Eric "Mobe" (as in "Moby") Calhoune and burn victim Sarah Byrnes united during junior high because of their shared "terminal uglies," fighting off bullies and insidious school faculty, to name a few.
Now in high school, Mobe's an athlete on the swim team, despite his efforts to remain plump and preserve his treasured friendship with Sarah Byrnes (sick of every idiot calling attention to her condition and her last name, she makes everybody call her by her full name).
When she winds up in the psych ward, the story launches into something both horrifying and heart wrenching: When Sarah Byrnes was three, her abusive father Vergil held her face to a hot stove.
Mobe's got to find a way to protect her from her father and bring her back into reality.
It's a truly gripping tale, one that will have readers on the edge of their seats. Vergil Byrnes is by no means an ordinary villain; he is a monster. But Crutcher doesn't simply stop with Sarah Byrnes' saga.
On the sidelines, but no less important, is the story of Mobe's rivalry with Mark Brittain, a fellow swimmer.
Mark is hardcore religious, while Mobe's more accepting and easygoing. It's fascinating to watch such different individuals with so different beliefs go head to head, whether in the pool or in their debate class, Contemporary American Thought.
It's heavy stuff, but Crutcher adeptly balances it by giving his characters the ever welcome gift of sarcasm.Read more ›
A strong plotline and strong sense of humor make this book good, but Crutcher's strong characters are what make it great and worth reading. Eric, Sarah, Ellerby, Ms. Lemry, Mark, Mr. Ellerby, Mr. Mautz, Jody, and Dale are all complex and have a story or motive or simply an aura that makes the reader want to know more and more. A really, really strong recommendation for this one, folks.
Oh, yes: Ellerby's celebrated Christian Cruiser, a pale blue with airbrushed clouds station wagon that blasts Mahalia Jackson at full volume and states, "The wages of sin are a buck fifty", deserves an extra commendation. Such creativity.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Slow in the beginning, but give the book a chance. Topics like abuse, self-esteem, suicide, and abortion are present in the novel, all of which are so important for teens to read.Published 2 months ago by kylie
Fantastic, as always expected from Chris Crutcher. Captivating and compelling read that captures the struggles as well as the triumphs of life in high school.Published 3 months ago by So It Is As If
My son is about to read this for school and I always read the books before he does, mostly so I can be sure he is really reading, but also so we can intelligently talk about any... Read morePublished 4 months ago by S. F. K.
The author really gets teens who are hurting. "Moby" and Sarah Byrnes are friends partly because of their personal tragedies. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Michelle Lia
Good storyline.. It could use less agenda shoving. The repetitive pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rights agenda was a bit over-bearing at times and sullied the story somewhat for... Read morePublished 8 months ago by curls26
Sarah Byrnes and Eric have always been friends. As kids they bonded and banded together because they were both misfits: Eric the fat kid, and Sarah Byrnes the girl with the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Betsy K H