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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round…
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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (original 2003; edition 2005)

by Carolyn Mackler

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1,381825,516 (3.82)38
Member:dastevens
Title:The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things
Authors:Carolyn Mackler
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Tags:general fiction, rape, social issues/human rights, YA, unread

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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler (2003)

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Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
Virginia is the "ugly duckling" of her family. Her two older siblings are virtually perfect, and her parents tend to ignore Virginia, except to put her down. Virginia herself seems to be consumed in a self-hate spiral, living according to the "Fat Girls' Code of Conduct," which includes such rules as not acknowledging the boy she's fooling around with in public and to never discuss her relationship with said boy - even though Froggy, her sort-of "boyfriend," seems to like Virginia a lot more than she believes.

It all changes when Virginia's perfect older brother, Byron, does something horrific at college. After going to a party, he rapes his date when they are both drunk. She doesn't press criminal charges, but she does take the matter to the school, which suspends Byron for a semester - a pretty light punishment, even though Byron seems to act like it is the end of the world.

I thought that this book was just okay, and I wavered between giving it two and three stars. Some of what Virginia goes through rings very true to me - I was overweight in high school (and still am), and I remember ducking out of lunch to hide in the bathroom because I didn't have any friends to sit with during lunch (until my band teacher saved me and wrote me a pass to come to the band room every lunch period for the rest of the year - thanks Mr. L.!). And shopping was always a nightmare.

Virginia's parents drove me up a wall. Her mother is an adolescent psychologist, and yet she is almost completely inept as a parent. She doesn't listen to Virginia, and most of their interaction with one another is Virginia's mother putting down her weight or telling her that she needs to lose some pounds. Virginia's dad is mildly better, but he's still ogling women on television in front of his wife and children. Nice. And there's obvious favoritism geared toward Virginia's two older siblings.

I also felt that Byron raping his date wasn't dealt with particularly well. Virginia eventually meets Annie, the college student Byron raped, and they bond over an Ani DeFranco song. Really? Okay... But Byron and Virginia never really discussed what happened - in fact, NO ONE in that family really discussed what happened - and it was shoved under a rug for the most part. I really would have liked Virginia sitting down and talking with her brother about this - maybe Byron would have learned something from the ordeal. As it stands, he seemed to think that he "made a mistake" and that he didn't want to suffer from that "mistake" the rest of his life - nevermind what Annie will deal with for the rest of HER life. I did like, however, that Annie told Virginia that she would not let Byron destroy her life.

I also didn't like that going to Seattle against your parents' wishes (like that would really happen with most families?), getting an eyebrow piercing, and dying your purple are cure-alls. Sure, I believe in expressing yourself, but I've done most of those things and then some, and they didn't FIX anything. It's fine to get pierced - I am - and to dye your hair to express yourself - I did - but I don't think that will change your inside all that much or make other people, who didn't talk to you, suddenly think you're cool enough to talk to at school now.


Altogether, I found this book to be rather superficial. It could have really been a good book, but in the end, I was left wanting more. ( )
  schatzi | Sep 23, 2014 |
I hate when authors have a curvy character but remind you every five pages in case you forget. OK,WE GET IT! ( )
  aliterarylion | Jul 14, 2014 |
...not bad. Not amazing, either. Virginia's actually a decent YA character, though she falls a little flat at times. I appreciated Mackler's willingness to tackle the subject of overweight as a teenager, and thought she handled it well. The emotional aspects of Virginia's self-acceptance and -expression were fairly dead-on, but things wrapped up just a little too neatly, and in the final chapters the "girl power" button got pushed a little overhard. ( )
  fefferbooks | May 12, 2014 |
First off, Virginia is a great character. She’s got a fun attitude and sense of humor, and while she does feel bad about herself, she doesn’t really wallow. It’s painful at times to read the undercurrent of disapproval from Virginia’s family as well as her own self-loathing. And I must say that her brother’s problem and how that affects her and her family is interesting and sets the book apart. My favorite part of the book was seeing Virginia go to Seattle—seeing her come alive again in a less oppressive environment. I thought that was very true to life. But realistically, I don’t think problems are resolved that quickly or easily in real life. It’s a bit of a whirlwind at the end: hair color, clothes, kickboxing, webzine, bam-bam-bam everything fixed! It was a nice ending—a positive message, etc, but maybe not totally realistic. Oh, and it’s frank almost to the point of crassness at times. ( )
  EuronerdLibrarian | Feb 7, 2014 |
If I have to hear Virginia's whinging narrative just once more, I think I'll slam my head against a brick wall.

Good concept, but not executed well at all.

Virginia, the plus size protagonist, complained about every aspect of her life but did nothing about it - except for a dodgy crash-diet - until the last few pages.

And leaky plot with the whole Annie Mills fiasco, I mean, really?

Overall this was a frustrating read that I didn't really enjoy.

Dear Virginia, get over yourself. ( )
  Corazie | Jul 25, 2013 |
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Book description
In the book "The Earth, My Butt, And other big Round Things" the main character is Virginia Shreves. She is in high school, and isn't the most popular girl in school. She describes her self as overweight and seems she has a low-self esteem. She has a best friend named Shannon but she moved schools and moved out of New York City, where Virginia lives. Virginia has a crush on a boy named Froggy Welsh. Virginia and Froggy mess around out of school, but they are not "boyfriend and girlfriend". Virginia's parents are hard working and successful. She has a older brother (Byron), and a older sister(Anais). Her sister is in the U.S. Peace Corps, and her mom is a adolescent psychologist, her dad is a high-powered software executive, and her brother lives in a dorm.

Froggy Welsh has made it up Virginia's shirt. School for Virginia is not going so great, she is a bit of a 'loner" in lunch because how her bestfriend Shannon moved away. So she over heard the "Bri-Girls" talking bad about her in the bathroom, although they do think Vigini's brother Byron is cute. So her self-esteem is even lower and she hates it even more that she is overweight. Froggy and her go deeper into they're messing arond thing. But her mother comes home early because of their Doctor's appointment that she forgot about, and Froggy hides under her bed. He listens to her and her mother talking about her overweight-ness. That is the reason why she's going to the doctor. Now she feels awkward with Froggy. The doctor feels she is healthy just she needs to lose weight. So Dr.Love puts her on a diet. After her diet is going well and Ms. Crowley makes her alittle bit more confident. Shannon makes new friends over in Walla Walla. Mr and Mrs Shreves get a phone call from the dean at Columbia College, and they find out Byron is accused of date rapeing a girl. Froggy wants to go to Walla Walla with Virginia to visit Shannon.

Virginia breaks her diet because all the drama and stress with Byron and his date-raping a girl from college thing. Byron gets suspended from school and has to move out of his dorm and go back and live with his parents. Virginia thinks its awkwad between them, and they don't talk much. Virginia breaks it off with Froggy because she doesn't have much time for their get togethers anymore. And plus now that Byron is back home he cant come over because Byron would say something. Shannon invites Virginia to Seattle for Thnaksgiving, but Virginia's parents don't want to allow her because theres to much chaos with the Byron date-raping thing.

Virginia's dad and Byron go off to the Yanke Stadium to watch a game. Byron Has a lawyer for his Date-rapeing case. Her mother is now starting to cook, and she hasnt cooked fo many years. Virginia's parents havent gone to their golf tournanents lately. Ever since Byron has been home, Virginia's dad has been drinking alot lately. Virginia's parents are allowing Byron to go off to Paris for Thanksgiving, and she doesnt think its fair, because she wants to go to Seattle with Shannon. Its Halloween and Virginia still hasnt talked to Froggy, althoug in the auditorium she spots im, and hes talking to some other girl named Sarah. She gets a bit jealous. Froggy won an award that day.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763620912, Paperback)

"The heroine’s transformation into someone who finds her own style and speaks her own mind is believable — and worthy of applause." — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:31 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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