Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FOODFIC: Fat Chance - Leslea Newman

I have to tell you, our narrator Judi almost lost me right at the beginning of the book when she complained about summer, saying, There wasn’t anything to do except sweat and eat ice cream. Not because she's overweight with horrible eating habits, but because – here it is – Gasp! – Horrors! – I don’t like ice cream. 

However, she lured me back in soon after with a night of Oreos that I can relate to oh-so-well; she explained how, at 51 calories each, 2 cookies was permissible, but when she slid down the slippery slope to 10 – 510 calories! – it was catastrophic. Like Judi, I knew perfectly well in the 8th grade that if I had the small bag of Doritos and a can of diet Mountain Dew for lunch, I could cruise through the whole afternoon on a boastful 250 calories and stay awake through history class.

In fact, I actually challenge you to find a teenage girl who’s not a mathematical genius when it comes to calorie counting. The experts say, Calories in, Calories out – it’s simple math. Well, it’s a simple statement alright, but dieting’s effect on the female psyche is infinitely complex.  If you were to trade spelling bees for competitions on teen magazine diet and fashion advice, you’d have more contenders than American Idol.

Judi has one particularly poignant diary entry: I mean, who cares if two trains are rushing toward each other at a hundred miles per hour from Point A to Point B, so what time will they meet in Chicago? Here’s the only word problem that I care about: If a certain 13-year-old girl…weighs only 129 pounds and she goes on a diet and eats only 800 calories a day, how many days will it take her to weigh 115?
I won’t tell you how our tortured (and not uniquely so) young narrator’s story ends, but I will say that it’s one that will be retold over and over – in fiction and reality – until we fix our priorities; food should rule only our stomachs, not our minds.


  1. I just love your blog! Such a unique and fresh approach. I found it through linkedin(or however they spell that), and I am checking it every day!
    Great idea!

  2. I'm reading "Same Kind of Different as Me" -- Denver's friend is sneaking different parts of his dinner out of the house to share with Denver.

  3. Hi Shelley! I'm finishing Blue Bloods, Bloody Valentine and Allegra is having chocolate chip cookies at the enfermery, after a blow out to her head by a field hockey stick! -jajajaja

  4. Hey Shelley... So I'm reading Water for Elephants... great book by the way, and the elephant, Rosie, is eating watermelon and whiskey!

  5. STILL on "The Inner Circle" (not a lot of time to read!). But when I read Pinkalicious to the girls, she was eating ice cream :)

  6. You were one of my weekly Stumble Upon recommended reads. How about that!

    Well, it's an interesting topic, food obsessions among the younger populations. There are overweight PSAs running in Georgia on this epidemic. Georgia is the second in the nation of obese children. One commercial goes something like a kid asking his mom why he's fat and the mother sitting across from him, who's quite obese herself and unable to answer him.

    I've seen school meals of a cheeseburger, fries, rice and chocolate milk served repeatedly as lunch. It's like, we don't wanna get it here.

    Very relevant post.

  7. @Totsy - that's why Jamie Oliver is trying to start a food revolution! I hope administrations listen :)