Hi, I’m alive!
Things have been super busy and my review of last month’s BOTM for The Banned Book Club kept being pushed back until today when I stepped down my foot and said ENOUGH.
So here I am, reviewing The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things – an unconventional title but hey! Don’t judge a book by it’s title!
I dived into this one with no idea what to look forward to and no expectations whatsoever and wow this book completely sucked me into it’s vortex. I was literally glued to it and finished it in one sitting with a few tears and screeches and hugs.
(let’s just say you’re lucky you did not witness me finishing this book)
Official Goodreads Summary:
Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex, especially when she compares herself to her slim, brilliant, picture-perfect family. But that’s before a shocking phone call — and a horrifying allegation — about her rugby-star brother changes everything. With irreverent humor and surprising gravity, Carolyn Mackler creates an endearingly blunt heroine who speaks to every teen who struggles with family expectations, and proves that the most impressive achievement is to be true to yourself.
This book is so amazing, my eyeballs popped out while I was reading and now I just feel like re-reading it again.
This book revolves around the themes of body issues, fat shaming and family relationships and how they can be toxic.
Virginia is a really lovable character. She is a fat girl who isn’t acceptive of her body and is afraid to be called out on that, so much so that she makes it a point to never look at herself in a mirror. She is looking for romance, a small fling as she believes it’s the best what a fat girl can hope for. Virginia is pretty insecure and seems to believe that her whole life revolves around her body image. She has no friends except one and her life is almost wholly controlled by her mother. Virginia literally worships her whole family, especially her brother- craving their attention and compliments and tries to please them the whole of her life. She’ll do anything to get that from her family.
I absolutely hated her parents, especially her mom, and I believe that’s exactly what the author wanted. The two of them are horrible inattentive parents who never really seem to care about what happens to Virginia and never spend enough time with her.
Virginia’s mother is an adolescent psychologist which would make you think that she would understand her children best and know how to go about with securing the relationships in the family, but no. She seems to know everything in theory but when it comes to applying it to her family we are sorely disappointed. The mother is a freaking hypocrite who wants to control every aspect of her daughter’s life. In her teenage years she had been a fat girl too but instead of encouraging her daughter to love herself the way she is she keeps pushing her to go on a diet, exercise in the gym and just become gad-dam thin. The mother actually doesn’t take Virginia out on any social gatherings because she might tarnish their perfectly built family image. She only tries to be a good mother whenever it is convenient for her. I’m just really mad at her.
Virginia’s dad annoyed me more than I hated him. He was a typical ignorant dad, up in his own world. It’s explicitly stated that the dad preferred girls to be slim and curvy and disliked fat girls. On many instances he not so subtly called out Virginia for her body and weight and once he also implied that he wouldn’t like it if his wife, Virginia’s mother started eating too much and became fat. This was so sickening and disgusting, I almost threw the book across the room.
I won’t say much about Virginia’s brother Byron because that would mean spoilers. He is portrayed as a muscular and handsome young man who is popular among the girls which may be a reason why even when he was first introduced I never really liked him because he pretty much ignored Virginia and on some instances fat shamed her while Virginia kept on looking up at him as if he had hung the stars and moon for her.
We also get some classic bullies with a slight twist in between and representation of eating disorders in the books too. There are also mentions of an elder sister(whose name I have obviously forgotten -_-) whom I wish we had seen more of because I could tell that she was a no nonsense girl, ready to defend her sister and totally acceptive of the way Virginia was, deeming it absolutely normal and calling her beautiful 🙂
I absolutely adored Sharron, Virginia’s best friend. She was such a supportive and loving sister to Virginia. No matter how down her best friend was Sharron never failed to cheer her up even though she was miles away. She made Virginia acknowledge her distresses out loud so that they don’t overpower her and she doesn’t go into denial.
Then there were some other supportive characters like Froggy and Mrs Crowley who both led to the development of Virginia’s character and her growth in general. Mrs Crowley made Virginia be brave and inspired as well as motivated her to keep moving forward and do what she feels is right. We seriously need more teachers like her :’ )
The plot progresses due to a series of events which I can’t say because spoilers and the fact that Virginia changes doctors and makes another serious effort to go on a diet in order to please her family, her mother and just fit in with the crowd on a whole. I loved how her new doctor emphasized that Virginia just needed to get a bit fitter, not slimmer. Her weight didn’t matter as much as her health- something that Virginia’s mother failed to get. Complications arise including boyfriends troubles and Virginia takes some difficult and brave steps that completely change her life.
The writing style of this book is pretty simple and captivating, being written in first person through Virginia’s perspective. There were so many instances wherein I could connect with Virginia and the other characters as well and so many places where Virginia’s tumultuous emotions were beautifully explained. In short, this a delightful must-read book for all! All this time I keep thinking why hadn’t I heard of it before?
What if I had never read it?
I would have missed out on a true gem.
Turns out Shruti gives great recommendation whether for binge watching shows and movies or reading mind blowing books 🙂
NOW WHY THE HELL WAS IT BANNED?
Honestly, every single book that I read in this Banned Book Club makes me want to grab hold of whoever banned it and shake them till they go down on their knees and apologise for banning that particular book.
WHY WOULD YOU BAN SUCH A PRECIOUS PIECE OF ART THAT IS EDUCATING AND BLOWING PEOPLE’S MINDS AND JUST- WHYYYYYYYYYY?????????
Yup, I have VERY strong opinions.
Don’t just go on the cover, okay. In fact, The Butt book(as everyone in our club has dubbed it) now has a new cover which is so gorgeous! Another reason to buy it 🙂
Okay but coming back to the topic this book was apparently banned due to language and sexual content and in some districts, it was banned for being anti-family.
There was no such language in this book that would offend anyone and there are only mentions of sexual content. And how is this anti-family?
Is it because the family in the book is toxic?
Is it because the parents are depicted in a bad light?