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Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 27, 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, May 27, 2008
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With her signature acerbic wit and captivating insight, the author of the wildly popular Straight Up and Dirty offers a powerful and beautifully stark portrait of adolescence

While she is pregnant with twins, one sentence uttered by her doctor sends Stephanie Klein reeling: "You need to gain fifty pounds." Instantly, an adolescence filled with insecurity and embarrassment comes flooding back. Though she is determined to gain the weight for the health of her babies--even if it means she'll "weigh more than a Honda"--she can only express her deep fear by telling her doctor simply, "I used to be fat."

Klein was an eighth grader with a weight problem. It was a problem at school, where the boys called her "Moose," and it was a problem at home, where her father reminded her, "No one likes fat girls." After many frustrating sessions with a nutritionist known as the fat doctor of Roslyn Heights, Long Island, Klein's parents enrolled her for a summer at fat camp. Determined to return to school thin and popular, without her "lard arms" and "puckered ham," Stephanie embarked on a memorable journey that would shape more than just her body. It would shape her life.

In the ever-shifting terrain between fat and thin, adulthood and childhood, cellulite and starvation, Klein shares the cutting details of what it truly feels like to be an overweight child, from the stinging taunts of classmates, to the off-color remarks of her own father, to her thin mother's compulsive dissatisfaction with her own body. Calling upon her childhood diary entries, Klein reveals her deepest thoughts and feelings from that turbulent, hopeful time, baring her soul and making her heartache palpable.

Whether Klein is describing her life as a chubby adolescent camper--getting weighed on a meat scale, petting past curfew, and "chunky dunking" in the lake--or what it's like now as a fit mother, having one-sided conversations with her newborn twins about the therapy they'll one day need, this hilarious yet grippingly vulnerable book will remind you what it was like to feel like an outsider, to desperately seek the right outfit, the right slang, the best comeback, or whatever that unattainable something was that would finally make you fit in.

Marie Claire, for Straight Up and Dirty
"Stephanie Klein’s raw account of divorce at age 29 is refreshingly honest and funny, without delving into cheesy chick-lit territory. You’ll easily relate to Klein--even if you don’t have a 'wasband.'"

USA Today
"Klein is a talented writer who tells the story of her love life with boldness and irreverence."

Publishers Weekly
"Klein’s sense of humor is downright wicked . . . a great, fun read."

New York Times
"Nothing, it seems, is too private not to share with . . . Ms. Klein’s legions of followers. And that is exactly how they like it."

"You could call her ‘a real-life Carrie Bradshaw,’ but it wouldn’t do Klein justice. With a fearless voice, the blogger weaves a memoir filled with heartbreak and humor . . . a compelling writer."

Kirkus Reviews
"Candid . . . inspiring . . . With vivid characterizations, spot-on locale descriptions and sly jokes at her own expense, Klein offers an original and touching take on the all-too-common problem of childhood obesity."

Elle, for Straight Up and Dirty
"Klein’s appeal comes not just from her nocturnal wonderings, but from her relentless plumbing of what went wrong in her twenties and how those mistakes inform her present."

Daily News, for Straight Up and Dirty
"[Stephanie Klein’s] confessional, intimate writing style has a magnetic and often voyeuristic appeal that transcends the gloss of her Sex and the City-style escapades."

Susan Shapiro, author of Lighting Up, for Straight Up and Dirty
"A kooky, heartfelt, and ultimately triumphant chronicle of young divorce and the importance of family, friends, and a good shrink."

Marie Claire (UK), for Straight Up and Dirty
"Beneath the wisecracking tales of solo supermarket shopping, phone therapy and Hamptons houseshares, the raw emotion about her divorce and nightmare mother-in-law rings true."

From Publishers Weekly

When Klein (Straight Up and Dirty) becomes pregnant and is instructed to gain weight, she flashes back to the years of trying to reduce. As an overweight eight-year-old, she was told, You will struggle with this for the rest of your life. Eventually, she got fed up with what she calls fatnalysis and her only concern was how to get thin. Yet the emotional distance of her mother, the cutting remarks of her father and a severe beating by her aunt explain why she felt her body was too big to hold the nothing that was in me. In school, fat meant unpopular, not unhealthy. Even her father laughs when hearing Klein's nickname, Moose. At 13, she attended fat camp, where girls holding their own rolls of fat made me feel less alone. Klein movingly relates the humiliation she endured from other campers and her flirtation with bulimia. But in the end, the narrative is less of a journey than a slog. While capturing the agonies of the unpopular, Klein succinctly sums up society's attitude to overweight women. But the insights are obvious: society is cruel to fat kids, and kind to thin ones. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616795735
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616795733
  • ASIN: B0020MMBG2
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,352,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you grew up as the "chubby" or "fat" kid on the block, you'll understand and relate immediately to Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp by Stephanie Klein. I could definitely relate...

Part 1: Baby Fat
Part 2: Weigh of Life; Sabotaje; Sloppy Seconds; Bay of Pigs; Your Worth In Weight; Blame It On the Rain; Shrinkwrapped; Mamma Mia; When Even "Misfit" Misfits; American Pie; Hurts So Good; Are You There, God? It's Me, Pound Cake; Caught; Inside Out; Tall Takes and Heroes
Part 3: Moose; To Fat and Back; The Hate Diet; Father Figurative; The Mother Load

This is an actual "memoir" of the author and the five years she spent at various fat camps. She was overweight as a child, and struggled (like we all do) with acceptance and self-worth issues. Her parents sent her to the camps to learn better eating habits and to get more exercise. The style is somewhat unique, in that she blends all the camps, friends, counselors, and enemies into a single fictional camp over one summer. As she states up front, names and some details have been combined and modified to protect the innocent, but everything in the book actually did happen. Things like falling in and out of love numerous times, sneaking out of camp with friends to have a food binge, and learning how to make oneself vomit in order to get rid of the food gorging that just took place. Throughout the book, you get a peek into the mind of an overweight child who desperately wants to be accepted for who she is, but is constantly judged by how much weight she carries. Her obsession with weight continues on to this day, manifesting in issues such as not wanting to gain any weight while pregnant for fear she'll once again be fat.
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Format: Hardcover
Moose, A Memoir of Fat Camp by Stephanie Klein was truly a remarkable book. I was so impressed by the author's honesty in telling about her experiences of being an overweight preteen and teen. Her descriptions of the embarrassment and anger felt by the rejection and names she was called was convincing. I could identify with so much of what was written, the poor body image, the pain of not being accepted just for who you are. I believe that most women have a poor body image; we obsess about those areas that aren't "perfect" and fail to recognize what is good about our bodies. It's good to read that these feelings are shared by others.
The only fault I felt with the book was the jumping around from the past to the present and not making it entirely clear what time we were reading about. But with a little extra concentration I would easily work out what the author was talking about.

I feel this is an important book for anyone with weight issues. Her discussion of various eating disorders was extremely interesting. I think teenagers especially should read this book to find they are not alone in their feelings.
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Format: Hardcover
If you feel like ANY of the things you have ever done to lose weight--or to feel better about your body--are at all messed up, then you have simply got to read Stephanie Klein's Moose. I just finished it a few weeks ago, and I'm not exaggerating when I say it it might be one of the best books I've ever read.

It's definitely one of the most important.

Moose is a memoir about Klein's experience growing up "fat" and being shipped off to fat camp by her somewhat unsympathetic parents.

I put the word "fat" in quotation marks because, as I mentioned in my "Fat is off the list" blog post, I don't think that word is productive, but also because Klein was never really fat.

Chubby, yes. But not fat.

If you don't believe me, see the pictures on my blog that prove it. . . [...]
Though the book doesn't exactly chronicle how Klein finally kicks the fat habit, it does beautifully narrate her horrific experiences trying to lose weight any way she could while growing up in a world that does not accept people who struggle with weight. Ironically, when Klein goes to fat camp, she is one of the thinnest people there, and as a result, becomes popular and sought-after. As it turns out, even at fat camp, skinny wins.

But what's so moving about this book is that Klein goes through what we all--fat or not--went through when we were young: feeling unattractive, struggling to fit in, and just wanting to be normal.

Sadly, Klein's parents offer little understanding of her situation. At one point, the whole family goes to a "pay what you weigh" dinner, and when Klein refuses to get on the scale, rather than empathize, they tell her that the whole world is prejudiced against fat people and that she'll be much happier if she loses weight.
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Format: Hardcover
As a psychotherapist I read Moose expecting it to be helpful in understanding some of my clients who were heavy during adolescence and still carry the stigma, fighting inappropriate eating daily. It was so much more. The story is intersting and at times funny. It captures the feelings of being an adolescent who is awkward and a little different; someone who is not in the popular group. Klein does a great job of decribing her parents reaction to her weight issue and their subtle messages as well as direct and great advice. It is well-written, descriptive and openly describes the emotions of most adolescents.
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